The Journey Continues: Sights and Sounds and Monte Bromiley

My journey this week takes me to Sights and Sounds of Christmas. It was established to bring the San Marcos community together to celebrate the holiday season and to create a place for local nonprofits to raise money for their causes. It started in 1987 on the courthouse square and quickly expanded along the San Marcos River to include the City Park and Plaza Park. The entire area is bathed with lights on every tree and with soft music. Venues include food booths, pony rides, petting zoo, arts and crafts fairs, a small carnival, outdoor movies, a town of Bethlehem and a performance stage. School after school, group after group, choir after choir troop across the stage. Often this is the first performance experience for many school children – it is an exciting time.

Attendance varies from 30,000 to 70,000 depending on the weather. This year the festivities have been expanded to two weekends – Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 and Dec. 6 to Dec. 9, from 5 to 11 p.m. nightly.

Last November, at the Noonday Lions Club, I listened to a presentation by Monte Bromiley, a longtime volunteer with Sights and Sounds with a special interest in “The Little Town of Bethlehem.” I made a note to interview her for the 2017 event. Here are her words:

“As a young mother of four, I was always on the lookout for meaningful places to take my kids. I wanted them to experience life and to be learning things wherever they went. I especially always wanted to share the joy of Christmas with my children. Twentyfive years ago, the Christmas festival on the grass around the Courthouse featured mostly arts and crafts and snacks – every booth had a charge per child, so with four children it didn’t take long to burn through the budget for the evening.

“On the way home, my children asked me where the baby Jesus was. The following year I approached Main Street San Marcos and asked if I could take part and present the story of Christmas and show ‘the Baby Jesus’ for all the children and people of the community? I’m glad to say that both Jesus and I were made welcome into the Sights and Sounds of Christmas, and the whole event moved to the river to provide enough room to accommodate a stable, a carpenter’s shop, a camel, a donkey and a baby.

“Over the years, the village of Bethlehem has taken on its own identity, forged by the kind and hard-working efforts of volunteers from this wonderful community. We now have wise men, angels, Roman soldiers, inn keepers, carpenters, musicians, dancers, potters, toy makers, camels, bakers, Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus.

“As Bethlehem has grown so has the cost, both physically and financially. I was much younger when I started this and I had more time and energy! There is no charge to enter Bethlehem. All our toys and crafts and food are available free to the children of this area. The whole village is built by volunteers and paid for out of private donations.”

Tommy Curtis, president of Sights & Sounds of Christmas, said “Bethlehem is an integral part of our festival and we are always impressed by Bromiley and her volunteers, with the production they are able to put together in such short order. In 2016, we relocated Bethlehem to a new home within the festival, and I am excited to see how she continues to spread her love for Christmas to the San Marcos community in our new two-week format!”

Bromiley had a vision that reflects what the Bible tells us in Luke 2:12: “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” This is a wonderful project entrusted by God to Bromiley and her volunteers. God Bless them and all the workers who keep Sights & Sounds a showcase for our city.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666