Christmas City underway at MS Coast Coliseum and Convention Center

Attendees at Christmas City.
Attendees at Christmas City.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - With 44 days left until Christmas, the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center in Biloxi is in the holiday spirit this weekend. And it's all due to the 30th Annual Christmas City.

"I've seen some toys, but I haven't seen Santa Claus, yet," said attendee Jordan Magee.

Many were in the Christmas spirit during the first day of the annual Christmas City Saturday.

"I'm a foodie, so I love all the food samples. But it's a way for me to start my Christmas shopping early so we just have a great time," attendee Kelia Magee said about Christmas City.

The two day event, which started 30 years ago with just 25 vendors, has grown to more than 250 vendors.

From, flavored pecans, college football merchandise and outdoor holiday decor, the event is where shoppers pick up hard to get personalized items.

"It's three little deer. And it has my name on it and my dad and my mom, and it says 'Christmas 2013,'" said Jordan Gill about her newly purchased ornament.

"Especially in terms of personalized ornaments, that's great to just put on a gift. A gift in general, so anything personalized. Anything that's just special for someone. It's just the way to go," said owner of The Radish Loft Boutique in Gulfport Meghan Butterfield.

Butterfield has a booth at Christmas City. Taking more than a year to prepare, Christmas City draws thousands of shoppers from in and around the Gulf Coast.

"One of the things about Christmas City is we go out and hand select a lot of these people. They have to have certain criteria. Handmade, unique, one of a kind," Christmas City show producer Ron Meyers explained.

Meyers said the show has become so popular; attendees are filling up the parking lots at the coliseum.

"Well we've been told by the coliseum staff that they have really some serious parking issues. Good parking issues. That people have been parking far away, but they've been shuttling them in," Meyers said.

More people are exactly what exhibitors like The Radish Loft out of Gulfport hoped for.

"There were so many people that I talked to that didn't know we existed. So that alone is worth our visit here," Butterfield said.

It's only two days long, but in those 48 hours exhibitors are making money and shoppers said they're finding different things they can't get anywhere else.

Whether you want to just go shopping or see Santa Claus, Christmas City opens at 10 a.m. today and closes down at 5 p.m.

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