Killeen residents came to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center by the hundreds Sunday for the seventh annual Armed Forces Natural Hair and Health Expo.

Meant to celebrate a woman’s natural beauty and hair, the event has been growing by leaps and bounds since it was established.

“We hit our first 100 visitors in just the first 30 minutes,” event organizer Luvina Sabree said. “We had a little over 1,000 people attend last year, and I am hoping to have a little over 1,200 people this year.”

Sabree said one performer or another would be taking the stage throughout the event, which ran from noon to 6 p.m.

Comedians, poets, singers, musicians and fashion shows were just a few of the events to be held on the catwalk at the center.

Singer, Zemira Israel, was a return performer who was participating in the event for the second time.

“I think (this event) is awesome for the community, it really helps push the awareness for natural hair,” Israel said.

Israel sang her song, “Wooly Hair Anthem,” for the assembled crowd near the beginning of the event. “I first participated in the event when I found (Sabree) on Instagram and started talking to her. She listened to some of my songs and invited me to sing last year. I’d love to come back next year if she invites me.”

One of the new events added to the show this year was the inclusion of an exhibit from Painting with a Twist in Harker Heights.

Painters from the studio set up a work space at the event where they would help visitors recreate a painting that “displayed naturally beautiful hair” that they would be allowed to keep.

“My wife actually found this event when she was at the mall one day,” said Kenneth Davis, as he worked on a painting. “We have only been here about four months, so this is brand new for us.”

“I like that they offer something like this for the community,” his wife, Chelsea, added.

Visitors to the hair show were also invited to trade in new and gently used hair and beauty products for products promoting natural beauty.

Sabree said all the leftover supplies would be donated to soldiers overseas.

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