Sights & Sounds starts festive season with San Marcos tradition
By Audrey Webb
Since 1986, the holiday season in San Marcos has begun with the Sights & Sounds of Christmas. This year’s four-day festival, which runs November 28 to December 1 in San Marcos Plaza Park, includes a living nativity scene – complete with real camels! – a carnival, free photos with Santa, a food court, an arts and crafts fair, pony rides and a 5K and 1K Reindeer Dash on December 1.
For many local residents, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same without this popular annual event. Yelp.com reviewer Carl F. sums it up: “This annual holiday celebration in San Marcos reminds me of the whirling, sparkling, whole-town festivals that you only seem to find in romantic comedies. … Never have I seen a more complete, earnest, energetic, or cost-effective holiday festival.”
Sights and Sounds is the inspiration of retired Texas State professor Ron Jager and his wife, Marie. The couple has contributed countless hours to the San Marcos community, their home since 1967. The holiday festival may seem to come together as if by magic, but the effort to put together the first Sights & Sounds of Christmas was monumental, particularly considering the lack of technology available at the time to assist the Jagers. “This was in the days before there were computers,” Marie recalls. “Even the telephones were rotary phones.” Ron remembers that “it was a different world. It was an enormous amount of work logistically to get all of that together. The only modern convenience we had was answering machines.”
Nightly admission is $4 or you can purchase a wristband to cover all four nights of the festival for $7 ($6 in advance for a limited time, online.)
If you’d like to be one of Santa’s special helpers, volunteer for the event. A limited number of shifts are still available.