Tips for Attending Bead Fest + Jewelry Shows | Beading

Annette K. Brown

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Bead Fest PA, 2022 is right around the corner and we’re gearing up for a great show. We can’t wait to welcome you and help you have a wonderful experience, whether taking a class, shopping, visiting with friends, or all of the above. We’ve got some fun (and useful) tips on how to approach the show, whether you’re attending Bead Fest for the first time or are a seasoned veteran.

Related: Celebrating 20 Years of Bead Fest

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Be Wise With Your Time

Do: Find the balance between socializing with vendors and being the silent speed-shopper! It’s easy to get wrapped up in meeting all these wonderful, creative people, but if you spend 15 minutes in every booth, you’ll never make it through the whole show floor.

Don’t: Don’t miss out on a cool experience like a demo or an interesting product! Make sure you give each booth a look and some attention.

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Make a Flexible Plan

Do: Read the show schedule ahead of time to make a plan for booths you want to visit and what you intend to shop for. This will help you budget both your time and money.

Don’t: Don’t be afraid to deviate from your schedule or plan if an unexpected opportunity presents itself. Allow time for impromptu conversations with vendors or designers, and budget some extra money for impulse purchases.

Related: Plan Your Trip to Bead Fest

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Take Notes

Do: Make notes, make a record, shoot it with your phone, write it down. You always think you’ll remember where something was, or how much it was, or what size something you have at home is—but then the excitement of the show hits, and it all goes out of your head. Make a list of what you want to look for, whether you need it or not.

Then, if you come upon something at the show that’s close but want to look some more, make a note of what you did see with all the details you’ll need for comparison shopping: price, color, size, quantity, booth name and number, and what else was there.

When you get back home with all your treasures, keep a record of where you found them. You might need some more before the next show. And you’ll probably want to go back to see what else they have when the next show does roll around.

Don’t: Don’t try to cover everything in one pass. Because so much of the fun of going to shows is discovering something you didn’t know you needed or wanted, of course you’ll want to do a walk-through that’s just for that.

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Take Care of Your Body

Do: Remember to eat something and hydrate!

Don’t: Don’t forget to bring your safety glasses (and magnifiers) so you can take in all the fun demonstrations on the show floor and maybe even participate!

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Strut Your Stuff

Do: Wear your handmade jewelry! What better way to make an instant connection with people around you? And remember to keep an eye out for what others are wearing.

Don’t: Don’t wear something that will make you uncomfortable during a long day.

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Look For the Unexpected

Do: Pay attention to signs on the walls and doors, on the food court tables, even on the bathroom mirrors! Some folks put out flyers announcing their special events that you won’t want to miss.

Don’t: Don’t miss Artisan’s Alley for one-of-a-kind artistic components. I also find lots of interesting new products there from new vendors who are just starting out.

Related: Discover Unexpected Treasures at Bead Fest’s Artisan’s Alley

editors' tips for attending Bead Fest and other jewelry shows

Spend Smart

Do: Bring cash. It’s great to just hand over cash for small purchases and not have to wait in line for credit card processing. Allow a little mad money in your budget for impulse buys so you don’t regret not making a purchase or, even worse, go back for it and it’s gone.

Don’t: Don’t spend your whole budget in the first few booths! If you see something spectacular, but you’re not ready to pull the trigger, walk away. Write down the booth number and a couple of reminder notes about what you saw and how much it cost. If it’s still on your mind after a few booths, go back!


Have tip for attending Bead Fest to share? Please leave it in the comments!

And please, stop by the Interweave booth to say hello, take in our demos, learn about some new products, ask questions, or take a seat with us. Most importantly, share your special finds with us—we’d love to see what you found at Bead Fest and learn what your plan is for it when you get home!

See you at Bead Fest!

Related: Learn how to travel to shows like Bead Fest with your teaching supplies and jewelry-making tools.


Originally published 8/3/2018. Updated 7/12/2022.


If you aren’t attending Bead Fest this year, learn from top teachers at home!

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