Above, volunteers place signs marking the 5K road course for the Sights & Sounds of Christmas's Jingle Bell Run. Daily Record photo by Lance Winter
Sights & Sounds of Christmas makes return in 2021
After a yearlong hiatus, organizers for Sights & Sounds of Christmas, and the ever-popular Jingle Bell Run, are back in 2021 with several new attractions.
Among them is the addition of a train display, new lights and an RGB tunnel, according to the chairman of the event, David Case. But the biggest addition will be the "Christmas Spirits" venue.
Christmas Spirits will be a closed full bar area, located in the city’s recreation hall facility, where festival goers can go to wet their whistle with an adult beverage during the two weeklong event.
“It will only take place at the Recreation Hall and there will be a $5 cover charge the first week for entry," Case said. "The second week the cover charge will be $10. It’s important to note folks will not be allowed to leave the facility with their alcoholic beverage.”
Case said it will be done right and be very comfortable setting with heaters and full-service bathrooms.
“The cover charge alone will be worth the heated room and bathrooms,” he said.
The cost to get into Sights and Sounds remains the same as in previous years, just $5 — and kids 12 and under are free.
Some of the attraction’s patrons can expect to see include a carnival, open Thursday – Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. It will include bumper cars and a Ferris wheel, something for everyone. Visitors can test their luck at one of the many games or get a rare view of the park from above on one of the soaring rides. Purchases can be made with Magic Money wristbands.
The McCoy’s petting zoo is back and continues to be free for all Sights & Sounds attendees. Enjoy this opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of animals, including llamas, lambs, goats, bunnies and more.
Kids and kids-at-heart can enjoy a game of life-size Jenga, Giant Connect 4, Tic-Tac-Toe and more at the Reindeer Games station. This free attraction is the perfect spot for those looking to take a break from the many other activities of the festival.
Take a journey back in time as you explore ancient traditions of old Bethlehem. Watch pottery being made, candle making and an opportunity to learn more about the history of Bethlehem.
If you’re looking for a unique holiday gift, Santa’s Gift Shop has a variety of options with over 30 different vendors. With items such as decorated cookies, clothing, home decor and more, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list.
If the evening's fun has worked up your appetite, there will be more than 25 different food vendors on hand to satisfy a variety of cravings during your visit to the festival.
“It will be a great time for families to come out and have fun together,” Case said. “It will be a memory they will have for a lifetime.”
Near the conclusion of Sights and Sounds will be Santa’s Jingle Bell Run 5K and Kids K.
It’s an opportunity to participate — at your own pace — and see some of the beautiful neighborhoods in San Marcos.
“It’s the largest fun run in Hays County,” said founder Brian Olson. “We’ll have more than 1,000 runners come from all over to participate in the race.”
The run, scheduled on Dec. 11 beginning at 9 a.m., marks its 10th anniversary and was established to offset the cost of reduced admission for Sights & Sounds to provide an affordable event for all to attend.
“We’ll have more than 15 volunteers and 21 officers we pay to help with the event,” Olson said. “Runners can register now for just $35 until Dec.1.”
This will be Olson’s last time to help the event as he hands over the reins to Matt Worthington.
“I’ve run this race a few times and loved it,” Worthington said. “It was then I began helping Sights and Sounds with some things and decided this was where I wanted to volunteer my time.”
Sights & Sounds of Christmas takes place two weekends in December: Thursday, Dec. 2-Saturday, Dec. 4, and Thursday, Dec. 9-Saturday, Dec. 11 from 5:30-11 p.m. Visitors can enter the park at 401 E. Hopkins St.