Strung out from a hard week of work? Head on over to the Piedmont Intergalactic Bead Festival
at Hillsborough's Big Barn Convention Center on July 29 and 30. Beads are serious business for the more than 40 vendors at this event, and among them, Gastonia, N.C. residents Leslie Dale and Audrey Johnson will be on hand to display a collection of ancient beads that rivals that of most museums. Elsewhere at the festival, bona fide glass bead-makers will demonstrate their craft techniques, some of which date all the way back 500 years. And while the organizers haven't promised any extraterrestrial participation at their bead bonanza, who knows? Intergalactic has got to stand for something. For details, call (888) 729-6904.