If you are someone like me who is in #TeamNatural community, then (if you have not already) you need to attend Curlfest at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY, which happens every July. Do not let the name fool you into thinking you have to have curly hair to attend. You will see both men and women at Curlfest rocking curls, dreadlocks (and faux locs), boxed braids and short cuts.
Yes, I did say MEN. Each year the male population at Curlfest increases. I mean why wouldn’t our male friends attend this event that attracts thousands and thousands of women from across the U.S. showcasing their beautiful and unique hair and some dressed in authentic African fabrics?
This natural hair festival is designed to help promote the natural hair community and for minority and women own businesses to showcase their products. If you are a naturalist from birth or a new curly girl (like me) this festival will give you inspiration for new looks and provide you with products (and free samples) that will make your hair POP. Oh, and not to mention they have a few booths dedicated for just the men as well.
In order to maximize your visit to Curlfest take a look at a few tips below:
Curlfest starts at 12pm each year, but you want to arrive BEFORE that. Yes Curlfest is held at a public park, Prospect Park, but if you are someone who purchased a ticket that includes a grab bag with FREE full-sized products, then you have to wait in line. This year was the first year they had different levels to their tickets, VIP, Gold, Silver. I purchased the VIP ticket ($49) and it provided me access to a reserved area, free water, private bathrooms and seating (if you were able to snag one). But you have to stand in line in order to get your VIP wristband to even take advantage of your perks.
My recommendation is to skip the entire “free” bag process and just enter the park. The later it gets it is harder to see the vendors or even take advantage of the photo booth opportunities they have due to the lines. Bottom line, you should arrive around 11am (earlier if you decide to get in line).
Curlfest brings a great amount of unique vendors. But you have to create a plan if you want to visit any of them. Do not follow my footsteps and try and visit the vendors at 2pm, you will wait at least an hour to get to the front of any line. The best plan should be to either visit them very early, 12pm when they first open or wait until the crowds die down around 4:30/5pm.
For the hair product vendors, they will have extremely long lines to just provide you with a small free sample. So if you do not want to buy something from that vendor, my suggestion is not to wait in line. Often they will have a representative walking the lines handing out whatever their free item is.
They also have vendors that will style and cut hair on site. This year there was a pop-up barber shop for the men. If your plan is to get a new do while you are there, go early!
Your attire does not stop with just your clothes, your hair style and color play a part too. This is one of my favorite parts about Curlfest is just sitting back and observing the creativity of the men and women. Large afros. Colored hair. Locs cascading down. Women with fades. Braids. It is all there. Make time to take it all in.
Remember, this happens every July. July in New York is H O T! So whatever you decide to wear, make sure it will keep you cool and comfortable for a few hours.
The DJ will be spinning the best soca, reggae, hip hop and old school classics. Men & Women will be flaunting their skills in dancing and acrobats. Kids will be running around with their beautiful hair flowing in the wind. Food trucks will provide an aroma you can’t resist. And its a must to take pictures to celebrate the memories you made with your friends!
Hope to see you all there next year….