San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 3rd, 2009
Sights and Sounds opens Thursday

3treeThe San Marcos River reflects the beautiful lights of the festival. Photo by Don Anders.

By HAP MANSFIELD
Scene Editor

There’s a chill in the wintery air and more than just a bit of excitement, too, as the 23rd Annual Sights and Sounds of Christmas gets ready to open today in San Marcos at 5:30 p.m.

Those who regularly drive by San Marcos Plaza Park have seen the gradual construction, tent staking. light frame building and busy workers getting the park prepared for the sparkling annual holiday harbinger.

“All the final preparations are all on schedule,” said Sights and Sounds Board of Directors President Rodney Cobb. “We’ll have live entertainment with local elementary schools. The Heart of Texas Chorus will be here this year. And, of course, food of all kinds. The carnival is back and everything we had last year is here, too.”

The 700,000 lights will be twinkling, casting their holiday glow onto the dozens of food vendors who will serve up everything from big juicy burgers to freshly made tacos to classic funnel cakes to the portable and spicy sausage on a stick. Tex Mex foods, cotton candy and freshly baked treats will also be proffered. There will be hot chocolate to soothe the coldest patrons, as well as soft drinks and water.

Saint Nick will arrive in style, by classic car from Dick Burdick’s Classic Car Garage. Santa will be at his River House for pictures and to hear the wishes of the young and young at heart.

Artisans from all over Texas will offer unique gifts, hand-made crafts, baked goods and specialty items so that attendees can shop locally amidst the twinkle of lights.

In A Night in Old Bethlehem, costumed characters will show attendees the customs, crafts, traditions and foods of the Nativity period. There will be a live Nativity scene with historically accurate animals.  You can pet a camel or ride the Sights and Sounds Express train. Caroling around the fire, hands-on activities and more await the festival goer.

For many, one of the highlights of Sights and Sounds is the fresh, hot biscuits made over the campfires at the event.

“There will be huge lines for the dutch oven biscuits,” Cobb said. “That’s a Main Street project. You’ll want to get in line early for the biscuits.”

Thursday,  the Hernandez Elementary School choir , the Hill Country Choir, the Goodnight Middle School choir, The MillerMiddle School choir, and the Heart of Texas Chorus will all perform on the main stage. San Marcos High School will present its choir, cheerleaders, diamond line, jazz band and salsa band.

Along with the plaintive voices of many school choirs will be the Contemporary Cloggers on Friday and the Sahawe Indian Dancers  and a variety of Mariachi bands on Saturday.

The Sugarplum Theatre features a puppet show from the San Marcos Public Library puppeteers, “The Night Before Christmas – In Texas That Is.” Children ages two and up will enjoy this puppet show in the Sugar Plum Theater Tent from 6-7:30 p.m. After that, the Shadow Stage players from San Marcos High School will perform.

Sights and Sounds will charge $1 for those ages two through 10, and $2 for those 11 and older.

“We finished $1,000 in the hole last year,” Cobb says on the Sights and Sounds website. “People have thought that Sights and Sounds has raked in tons of money each year, but the fact is that just about every penny raised has been poured back into the community.”

One of the most dramatic sites of the event greets visitors at the entrance with falling snow and glamorous glimmering lights. The snow is a man-made treat.

“It’s sort of like the ones they use in Hollywood,” Cobb said. “We have the snow just as you come into the entrance. It’s a popular place for photos.”

With the weather as frosty as it has been of late, there are hints that it may, indeed, snow at the event. Weather forecasters are putting the chance of snow Friday at 70 percent.

“It would be perfect!” Cobb said. “We could turn off the snow-making machine for a little while and let it really snow.”

Sights and Sounds Schedule of Events for the Main Stage

Thursday, December 3
Dr. Richard Cheatham, MC
5:30 Hernandez Pre-K
6:00 Hernandez Elementary
6:30 Hill Country Youth Choir
7:00 Goodnight Choir
7:30 Heart of Texas Chorus
8:00 Goodnight Choir
8:05 SMHS JV Choir
8:30 Cheerleaders/Diamon Line
8:50 SMHS Jazz Band
9:30 SMHS Salsa

Friday December 4
Mark Newton, MC
5:30 Mendez
5:55 Crockett Ballet Folklorico
6:00 Bowie
6:30 Crockett
7:00 DeZavala
7:30 Travis Elementary
8:00 First Presbyterian Choir
8:30 D’Ette & Co
8:55 The Magical Mysteries of Christian
9:10 Manny B. Hip Hop
9:35 Contemporary Cloggers
10:10 Salsa Del Rio

Saturday, December 5
Daniel Guerrero, MC
5:30 Texas Preparatory School
6:00 Small Middle School Choir
6:30 J&R Gymnastics
7:00 Go2Danz Studio
7:25 Gary Job Corps Ballet Folklorico
7:50 Isa Mendez & Sammy Salinas Guitarists
8:25 Sahawe Indian Dancers
9:15 Mariachi Infantil
9:35 Mariachi Lince De Oro
10:00 Mariachi Nueva Generacion

Sugarplum Theatre Schedule of Events

Thursday, December 3
6:00 San Marcos Library Puppetshow “The Night Before Christmas- In Texas, That Is”
7:30 Shadow Stage Players SMHS

Friday December 4
6:00 First & Second Step School
7:30 Shadow Stage Players SMHS

Saturday December 5
6:00 San Marcos Library Puppet Show “The Night Before Christmas- In Texas, That Is”
7:30 Shadow Stage Players SMHS

11fireStoking the campfires for biscuits. Photo by Don Anders.

2cottonA plethora of cotton candy at Sights and Sounds. Photo by Don Anders.

4choirElementary school choirs fill the air with youthful voices. Photo by Don Anders.

55SantaThe Jolly One and his gal pal at the Sights and Sounds of Christmas. Photo by Don Anders.

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0 thoughts on “Sights and Sounds opens Thursday

  1. We finished $1,000 in the hole last year,” Cobb says. Thats it? But yet there is $8.4 million that is burning a hole in councils pockets. I don’t think I will be in attendance this year.No I’m not cheap,say what you will. What’s next a cover charge for entering the San Marcos river?

  2. I was disappointed to hear about the admission charge and wondered if there were any other way to avoid this. All the public schools in town participate and now all those parents and grandmothers and other family members, who already are a captive audience AND already spending money there, now have to pay just to get in to see their own children perform? I really miss the early event when it took place on the square and you could buy hot coco from the Boy Scouts who were not competing with the restaurant chains and carnival rides. what does a roller coaster say about Christmas?

  3. Too bad San Marcos has never gotten around to building sidewalks around town. Passing by Sights & Sounds tonight, I got to see families walking either in the street or in the mud in order to get to the event.

  4. For the admission charge, it would be nice for the attendees to at least have help crossing the very busy Hopkins. The sidewalk situation in San Marcos is greatly lacking in the following areas – 1. functionality 2. continuity and 3. planning and upkeep. Downtown is the worse case of lack of continuity – on one side of the street, you have paved walkways, landscaping, street lamps, benches, new trash bins and then look across the street and see crumbling sidewalks. San Marcos is notorious for sidewalks that begin and end abruptly and without reason.

  5. We went last night. Were we just a little later in the evening or did it seem to anyone else that attendance was WAY down?

  6. All 3 lines (to buy tickets) were so long, we had to turn away (30 degrees, too cold to wait in one of the hardly moving lines, about 8pm this evening). What a shame, tonight was the only night we could attend, we were really looking forward to the event, it sure looked line fun on the other side of the chain link fence!

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