Maybe it's the snow. Maybe it's all the products made in Montana, but whatever the reason, the MetraPark Expo Center will be filled as more than 12,000 people are expected to visit for the Holiday Food and Gift Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
The show, in its 32nd year, features gifts, products, apparel and entertainment that is geared toward the holiday themes of Thanksgiving and especially Christmas.
Shoppers can get an early start on their holiday gift shopping, or grab a few finishing touches for Turkey Day.
Last year, Amanda Lechner of Pillar Event Services thought it was amazing when the crowd for the two-day event eclipsed 10,000. This year, the crowd will likely grow to more than 12,000 and there will be more than 200 vendors.
"I don't think I could squeeze another vendor into this place if I tried," Lechner said. "Every nook, cranny and extra space has someone in there."
Montana-themed or Montana-made gifts continue to be the most popular. Event-goers are often looking for original gifts that cannot be found everywhere, and the festival's local vendors help folks find that perfect gift.
Lechner said that even more vendors this year are featuring Montana-themed products or food unique to Montana. That, in part, has helped drive more people to event.
For example, Flathead Lake Cheese Co., will be traveling to the festival, which demonstrates a growing reach of the event that pulls in companies from across the state.
The show also has longtime favorites like the Montana Shirt Company and Becky's Berries, Lechner said. And, of course, Santa will be on hand both days to greet kids and listen to holiday wish lists.
"People are proud of the state of Montana and they like having gifts that support the people here," Lechner said.
In addition to Montana products, there's a growing trend of personalized gift items from mugs and T-shirts to beer growlers.
"The weather looks to be just right, too," Lechner said.
A little bit of snow helps people jump into the holiday shopping mood, she said.
The forecast for Saturday calls for a slight chance of snow and a high of 42, while Sunday will be mostly sunny and a high of 43, according to the National Weather Service.
The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Admission to the event is $3 at the door or $1 with a donation of a non-perishable item to the Billings Food Bank.