Helena business owner to host crafty event

Lora Lunsford is spreading her love of beads and craftwork by hosting Beadapalooza 2009 at her Helena store, The Bead Biz.

The event will be held Aug. 22-23, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day. The first 50 people to attend will receive a goody bag with bead patterns, coupons from local businesses and other surprises. The event is free and open to the public.

Lunsford said the event is, in essence, a miniature bead show.

“It’s some of the best vendors that I have throughout the year, all at the same time,” she said. “It’s my biggest sale of the year.”

She said she expects at least seven vendors to participate. A few will personally be there, and the rest will send their merchandise to be sold for them.

Her vendors come from varied backgrounds. One California beadworker, who bills himself as the “Indiana Jones of Swarovski Crystals,” travels extensively to find rare, vintage Swarovski crystals and gemstones.

Another vendor will travel straight to Beadapalooza from China, where he collects beautiful gemstone strands.

In fact, the event will spill from inside the store into tents set up in the parking lot.

“It’s so big, I can’t fit it all in the store,” she said. “I hope it gives people an opportunity to get beads and gemstones and things that I don’t normally carry. Once a year, they can get some unusual finds.”

Lunsford said while she’s been holding Beadapalooza annually for five years, the event is poised to go big — really big.

“Two years from now, we’re looking to take Beadapalooza national to Walt Disney World,” she said.

Lunsford is currently talking to travel agents and Disney representatives about holding Beadapalooza in a conference center at Disney World in Orlando. She said she would like to offer beadwork classes for visitors to take, and she would expect at least 75 to 100 vendors to attend such an event.

“It’s going to take me two years to plan this whole event,” she said.