A packed parking lot at Eastgate Town Center Saturday morning marked the start of the 18th Annual Hamilton County Minority Health Fair.

For many participants like Ferlencia Tuggle, it was a first.

"This is actually my first time coming and I thought it would be very interesting,” Tuggle said. “I was very surprised when I pulled up in the parking lot and saw so many cars out."

Tuggle says she got a text from a friend last night urging her to go. She was one of the thousands of participants organizer Tony Sammons says the fair helps every year.

"We're hoping to surpass our numbers of last year,” he said. “Last year we had over 5,000 plus people."

The services are all free, and include basic measurements like BMI and blood pressure. But participants can also get mammograms and screenings for things like lung cancer and lupus. Sammons says the tests could cost well over a $1,000 out of pocket, but saving people money isn't his only goal.

"The ultimate goal is to give our community that awareness to be concerned about their health needs and to take advantage of health fairs like this,” Sammons said.

While the fair hopes to help the under-insured, no one is turned away. Sammons says the only qualification is your time. For people like Tuggle, the time was well worth it.

"Health is everything. Having good health is everything,” Tuggle said. “I try to take care of myself because I want to be here a while."

Tuggle, and thousands of others, left with a clean bill of health and without a bill from the doctor.

Sammons encourages people to pre-register for next year’s fair to save time when they arrive. More information can be found at minorityhealthfair.org.