Olde Tyme Christmas celebration comes to Bertram

Reta Whitley is spearheading the Bertram Olde Tyme Christmas Festival, set Nov. 30 in downtown Bertram. (Photo by Dana Delgado)

Reta Whitley is spearheading the Bertram Olde Tyme Christmas Festival, set Nov. 30 in downtown Bertram. (Photo by Dana Delgado)

By Dana Delgado

  BERTRAM — The memories of Christmas past in a small town prompted Reta Whitley to make sure Bertram’s Olde Tyme Christmas Festival didn’t go by the wayside.

After being discontinued for a few years despite a successful six-year run before that,  Mrs. Whitley along with Pat Easely, Mary Moore, Margaret Ybarra and Guileen Odiorne stepped in to resurrect the event and hope to make sure the holiday tradition continues for generations.

“We started with nothing,” said Mrs. Whitley who convinced the City of Bertram and the Economic Development Council to chip-in financial support for the return of the festival.

The festival’s 2012 return was such a success Whitley now finds herself dealing with a growing number of vendors and festival goers alike looking forward to this year’s event.

“We got our feet wet a year ago but were thrilled with the results,” said Mrs. Whitley.  “Things are going good, really good for this year’s festival.”

Bertram’s Olde Tyme Christmas Festival is set for Saturday, Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on historic Vaughan Street. The day-long celebration of Christmas the way you remember it, is filled with activities, music and food and holiday merriment, all in historic Downtown Bertram. Plan to join others who have made this celebration “the small town big Christmas event of the year!”

Festival-goers are invited to dress in pioneer period costumes which was one of the event’s biggest hits a year ago.  An array of vendors selling arts and crafts, jewelry and plants among other homemade products will be available. One vendor last year traveled from Corpus Christi to be part of the festival.  A number of food stations selling a variety of foods including tamales and baked goods will be on hand.

Music will ring throughout the day during the festival. Rick Bussey will perform in the morning while Ron and Bill Coker along with Hershel McFarland will take the stage in the afternoon.  And you can’t forget Santa.  He will be there visiting with youngsters from 11 a.m-2 p.m. at the park by the water tower.

“It’s worth all the hard work,” said Mrs. Whitley, a longtime community volunteer who also assisted with the Oatmeal Festival for 20 years.  “Bertram deserves a holiday festival like this and people deserve to have a safe, wholesome place to make memories.”

Memories is something Reta Whitley has plenty of especially since she was born and grew up in Bertram with six brothers and four sisters. Her mother’s family (Perkins) dates back for generations in the area. Her father’s family came to Bertram from Tennessee through Jonah in east Williamson County.

“I married a boy in Bertram,” she said. “We moved away several times but always came back. Bertram was home and still is. There are many memories here.”

For additional information on the festival including vendor spaces, organizers can be reached at (512) 355-2984 or (512) 355-2190.