Almost 20,000 nauralistas and friends gathered in Prospect Park on July 21st  for the annual Curl Fest 2018. Curl Fest is the ultimate beauty festival for natural hair. I’ve never seen so many beautiful afros, bantu knots, curls, locs and braids in one day. Sponsors and vendors such as DevaCurl, Eden Body Works,  and Cream of Nature showcased tents selling products, doing live hair tutorials and demos, and hosting games and giveaways!

As a little girl, I was constantly teased for wearing twists and braids when all the other girls had relaxers. This festival is a reminder of how far we’ve come. I love to see us love ourselves and our natural beauty. I love that I’ve NEVER had a conversation about relaxing my daughter’s 4c hair. I love that we’ve shed the weaves and wigs for necessity and are comfortable with our own textures and lengths. And I especially loved being a part of this moment in time when we’re letting our beautiful, anti-gravitational kinks and curls flow freely.

Below, a gallery of photos that capture the day and my tips for how to survive Curl Fest 2019.

The Lawrences


1. Arrive early.

The event is from 12-7pm. When we arrived at 2pm the lines were Massive. Plan ahead!

2. Pack a Picnic

It’s part of the fun. Bring blankets and find a picnic basket. A cooler is too much for this packed event, but you can fit everything you need in a large insulated picnic basket. This year, we planned to eat at the food trucks. There were great options, but astronomically long lines. Save yourself the trouble and pack your own food!

Chips, guacamole, salsa, cheese, a fruit tray, nuts are all great snacks for a day in Prospect Park. There are also a number of restaurants, markets and bodegas by the park entrance where you can grab a bite to go.

Curl Fest is BYOB. Bring your favorite drinks and cocktails. Wine was our go-to. 7 hours is a long day. Remember to pack water to stay hydrated!

3. Find a Good Spot

Find the perfect spot for the day so you can watch the magic. The periphery of the festival is best for a chill experience. If you have a stroller or young kids, this is the best place to set up. I love sitting in the middle of the action. Equidistant from vendors, food, the stage and other events is great for me. The view is great for people watching, but keep in mind you’ll be stepped over MANY times, as this is the most crowded area of the fest.

4. Food Trucks

My humble opinion is to skip them unless you get there early. If you want to try them out, set up your blanket, then grab food right away to avoid crowds. We waited well over an hour in food truck lines during the afternoon rush.

5. Dress the Part!

Bring your A-game, then do extra. Be a part of the festivities! Now is the time to get creative with your tresses. We saw flowers, butterflies, hair thread, ribbons and so much hair decor. There was also a lot of face paint, a few angel wings, and lots of beautiful African inspired fashion and accessories. Check out the gallery below.

6. It’s Pet Friendly

There were so many cute dogs at CurlFest! Bring your pup! Keep in mind that the park is packed, but there’s plenty of space for chill, well-behaved dogs.


Photography by Iyani Smith


Nia Lawrence has over 10 years of experience working as an Art Director at some of the top magazinesin New York City. She was responsible for creating visual content for companies such as Real Simple, Latina, Redbook, Women's Health, Martha Stewart Living, Suede and Victoria's Secret.. ​ Brooklyn, NY is home to the mom of one who currently runs the Nia Lawrence Design Studio, a print and digital marketing company.

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