Trenton arts fest returns after shooting, but won't go all night

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TRENTON -

An all-night arts festival interrupted by gunfire last year is returning to Trenton but with a key change: it won't be all night.

Trenton's Art All Night is shutting down from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Organizers say the change was made to make festivalgoers feel more comfortable. It also reflects increased security measures.

For the first time in its 13-year history, the event will be fenced off, and attendees will go through security before entering.

It will have two entries for the public where everyone has to go through security. They will be wanded by metal-detecting wands and they will also have bag checks,” said organizer Lauren Otis.

RELATED: ‘Art All Night’ shooting victims file lawsuit against city, police 
RELATED: Art All Night Trenton attendee describes escaping gunfire 

The festival is held in the sprawling Roebling Wire Works building. Event director Joseph Kuzemka says it will be like attending any live sports or music event.

"Now we see we are in a new norm, and this what large events will look like in the city of Trenton,” said Trenton Police Chief Sheilah Coley.

The June 17, 2018 shooting left a suspect dead and 22 people injured last year. Authorities said it looked like neighborhood gang dispute.

The anti-violence group Moms Demand Action sponsored a table at the event last year and some of its members fled during the gunfight. Jasmine Surti of the group will be there again this year volunteering to help. She says that she believes that it sends an important message.

“What happened last year wasn’t really directed at Art All Night, it just happened to be the place,” she says. “But the sad fact is that gun violence is happening all over our community.”

The festival starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, will break overnight, and continue Sunday until 3 p.m.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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