updated 12/11/2006 1:33:30 PM ET 2006-12-11T18:33:30

MADRID, Spain — The last time it snowed in the sun-baked town of Lepe in southern Spain was in 1954. Now the stuff is falling every day — promptly at 8 p.m., for exactly 15 minutes — thanks to a mayor keen on concocting a white Christmas.

A pair of cannons blasting frozen precipitate over the town square have proven such a hit in Lepe — a town of 22,000 better known for its beaches and lush crops of strawberries — that human and traffic gridlock ensue every evening when it is time to snow.

"More than anything we are doing it for the younger people, who have never seen snow," Mayor Manuel Andres Gonzalez said last week, according to the newspaper El Pais.

The fake weather began Dec. 5 as part of Christmas festivities and is scheduled to last until Jan. 6.

A torrential downpour of rain — the real kind — drenched Lepe on Dec. 5 as people gathered in the town square, jeopardizing their first taste of the cold and white, but the water let up just in time.

"In the end we got lucky and the weather gave us a break," Gonzalez said.

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