The 34th annual Holiday Food and Gift Festival kicks off the holiday shopping season Nov. 9-10 at the MetraPark Expo Center.
Theone-stop shopping extravaganza provides festival-goers everything they need to spend all day Christmas shopping — including coffee, food trucks and indoor snacks like freshly roasted nuts.
“The vendors decorate their booths for Christmas as well. There are smells of food around every corner,” said event director, Amanda Lechner.
With as many as 200 vendors offering handcrafted gifts, toys, candies, meats, cheeses, jams, jellies, syrups, pickles, salsas, spices, caramels, almond butters and fudges – there is something for everyone on your shopping list.
“You can also buy yourself a new outfit for the holidays," Lechner said, highlighting clothing, jewelry, shoe and accessory boutiques that will be present. And gifts for pets will also be for sale, from treats and clothing, to beds and more.
For that special man on your list, vendors offer fly boxes, fishing nets, signs for their man cave and clothing.
Lechner encouraged shoppers to attend the festival not only to find one-of-a-kind gifts, but also to support local businesses and avoid shopping at big box stores.
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“A majority of the booths are artists and small-business owners. I would love to see people spend their money at the Holiday Food and Gift Festival instead of on Amazon, Target or Walmart,” said Lechner. “When you buy from these vendors you are supporting small-business owners.”
But let’s not forget about Santa. The man in red will be there to hear what each child wants for Christmas while getting their photos taken.
“Santa seems to be the biggest tradition for many people," said Lecher.
Alpacas of Montana will also be onsite for a petting zoo, including the newest baby alpaca family member. There will also be other activities for kids like face painting.
The Holiday Food and Gift Festival is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Cost is $3 per person or $1 with the donation of a nonperishable food donation for the Billings Food Bank. Lechner encouraged attendees to go the donation route.
"This is one of (the food bank's) biggest food raising events of the year," she said. "With the holidays coming up, they need help stocking their shelves so they can provide meals for those in need this time of year."