Bead artists and fans enjoy Helena’s Beadapalooza

Customers browsed numerous tables of different beaded jewelry at Helena’s Beadapalooza event held at the Helena Sports Complex March 14-15. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

Customers browsed numerous tables of different beaded jewelry at Helena’s Beadapalooza event held at the Helena Sports Complex March 14-15. (Reporter Photo/Graham Brooks)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Long rows of tables were filled with beads of all varieties and styles at the Helena Sports Complex on March 14-15 where artists from all over the country displayed their best bead designs.

In addition to beads, those in attendance could view vendors, listen to acoustic music, sign up for classes to learn about embroidery, wire wrapping, pewter casting and more.

Shawn Turner, owner of SETingGlass, has an art studio in Tuscaloosa and had a table set up at Beadapalooza. She discussed some of her favorite things she liked about weekend.

“It’s grown tremendously, the crowd, the venue, the sales, everything,” said Turner. “My favorite thing about Beadapalooza is getting to see everybody here, the growth of the venue and the fact that the same clientele comes back every year and meeting new people that come.”

Beadapalooza has been an annual event for the past nine years and this is the first year the event will take place bi-annually.

Lora Lunsford, owner of the Bead Biz in Helena talked about the growth of the event over the years in a February interview.

“It has become more like a bead circus than a bead show,” said Lunsford. “People come from all over the Southeast to attend and it has grown immensely. I didn’t want it to be like typical bead shows so I had to come up with ideas. I want it to be fun and entertaining.”

Turner likes the fact that some of the same people come back each year to Beadapalooza.

“A little girl came up to me yesterday wearing one of my beads that she made into a necklace and that was so neat,” said Turner. “I gave her the bead last year and she made the necklace and she came up and showed it to me this year.”

The next Beadapalooza event is scheduled to take place in August later this year.