TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A year after gunfire shattered Trenton's annual Art All Night festival, hundreds flocked to this year's celebration of local art, music, food and films - even though, strictly speaking, it no longer quite lived up to the name.
The formerly "all night" festival took a break from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. Sunday before resuming for the morning and afternoon. And for the first time in the festival's 13-year history, the event was fenced off and attendees had to go through security checkpoints before entering the event space that included visible police and security officers.
The June 17 shooting last year left a suspect dead and 22 people injured last year in what authorities said looked like neighborhood gang dispute. But those attending this year to examine the more than 800 pieces of art displayed inside and outside the Roebling Wireworks Building spoke of moving forward rather than looking backward.
"Nothing is going to stop us from making sure that we continue this event and we continue to strengthen our community with arts and culture," event director Joseph Kuzemka told WPVI-TV.
His words were echoed by one of the attendees, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who told the crowd that the festival had gone from tragedy to triumph and "it's only going up from here," the Trentonian reported.
"Art measures the soul," Murphy said, "so Art All Night is not just a fun time for us to get together and celebrate and have some fun, but importantly it is a measure of the soul of this particular community."
First-time attendees Jill Adomag and Keith O'Donnell of Ewing, who came to support the community after the shooting, said they were impressed with the quality and range of the art.
"I'm glad I came, there are a lot of good vibes and a lot of positive energy here," Adomag said, NJ.com reported.
And next year's celebration may live up to the name once more, Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora hinted.
"We are ecstatic that Art All Night is continuing to perform," he told the crowd. "Next year I think we are going to go 24 hours again."