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Santa’s landing at CTMC inaugurates Sights & Sounds festival

COVER: After arriving by helicopter on Wednesday, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for photos each night of the Sights & Sounds of Christmas Festival, scheduled this year for Dec. 3-6 at San Marcos Plaza Park. PHOTO by DON ANDERS.

FROM SUBMITTED REPORTS

Trading his sleigh for a more modern mode of air travel, Santa Claus will arrive in San Marcos by helicopter Wednesday afternoon to officially kick off the annual Sights & Sounds of Christmas festival.

Central Texas Medical Center officials invites area families and children of all ages to come enjoy the free event featuring hot chocolate, cookies, candy canes, musical entrainment, photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a free book for small children.

Festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m., and Santa and Mrs. Claus are scheduled to land at the CTMC helipad at 5:30 p.m. Upon arrival, the pair will mix with crowd before reading “The Night Before Christmas” to attendees and then flipping a giant switch to turn on holiday lights at the hospital campus. At 6:20 p.m., the couple will reboard the helicopter to head for Sights & Sounds opening ceremony events near downtown San Marcos.

Set amid more than a million dazzling white lights draped from trees on both banks of the San Marcos River, the annual Sights & Sounds celebration will run Wednesday, Dec. 3 to Saturday, Dec. 6 in San Marcos Plaza Park, 206 N. CM Allen Parkway.

The festivities include the largest the city‘s largest visiting carnival, complete with ice-skating rink, and opportunities to take free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Other activities include arts and crafts from more than 30 local vendors, a diverse food court, pony rides, a Town of Bethlehem exhibit and two stages for live entertainment from local artists and community schools.

Entertainment highlights this year include performances by local schoolchildren, choirs, dancers, and appearances by The Invincible Czars, Kyle Park, David Ybarra and many others.  Coming back again this year, local laser maestro Tim Walsh will be presenting holiday themed laser shows at the Main Stage.

The festival is free for children under 12 year old. General admission is $5 per day. Wristbands allowing admittance to all three days of the festival are on sale through Dec. 3 for $7 at the San Marcos Parks & Recreation office, 301 E. Hopkins St., or the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins St.