PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

The population of the Coachella Valley continues to grow rapidly as we enter the busy winter season.  The increase comes as good news for local businesses and the local economy.  "After December 26 for us, that's the start of the season," said Eduardo Brambila Romero, from Armando's Bar and Grill in Palm Desert.  "We've been so busy, thank God." 

It's nothing new this time of year, people flock to the desert and its average temperatures in the 70s to escape the winter cold blanketing much of the country.  "You know, most of the people right now, like I said, it's snow birds," said Bramibla Romero.  "Many people coming from Canada, New York, coming from Chicago." 

Ryann Whalen left the windy city for warmer weather.  Like many travelers, she's grateful for this year's calendar.  Christmas fell on a Wednesday, New Year's Eve on a Tuesday, giving some a reason to spend more time away.  "With the holiday, we were able to extend the trip longer, so it's nice," said Whalen.  

Visitors in Palm Springs use the time to walk through downtown, take photos with Marilyn and explore a place that keeps growing every year.  "I think there's consistently more and it's always sort of changing," said Whalen.  "It's always interesting to see what's new." 

For the Cocky Cactus in Palm Springs, new neighbors means more business.  "A lot of stuff, the Hard Rock hotel had a lot to do with it as well," said Maria Campos.  "We are seeing bigger crowds of people coming in." 

People who buy things and help local businesses survive the slow summer months.  All worth it to welcome thousands of new visitors for events like this weekend's kickoff of the Palm Springs International Film Festival.  "We've been waiting for this time of year, for the whole year," said Campos.