Shopping for the perfect formal gown can be exciting and dazzling, but it can also be stressful and expensive.

High fashion once again descended upon the Tarawa Terrace Community Center on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, with the best price tag: free. Approximately 250 participants searched for the perfect dress during the ExtravaGOWNza event, Sept 16.

“ExtravaGOWNza is an annual ball gown giveaway held at the Tarawa Terrace Community Center,” said Yolanda Mayo, deputy operations officer for Marine Corps Community Services Lejeune - New River. “We know that ball season is approaching and many women dread having to go buy another dress that they will only wear once. So we host this event, to help women find their gown at no cost.”

With more than 900 gowns donated from the New York Recycling Company and another 100 dresses brought in by area residents, there were a plethora of styles and sizes to choose from.

“I have never been to one of these before,” said Lilian Reynares Solari, military spouse and event patron. “I’m excited to see what all they have here.”