9/30/17 Starry Night, crowd

A crowd of students walk down Northwestern Street and check the different tents at the Starry Night Music and Arts Festival.

Starry Night, an annual arts festival hosted by Purdue Christian Campus House, has been canceled for the fall.

Rob Schrumpf, lead pastor at Campus House, confirmed in an email Monday that the church will not be holding the festival this year. He said that planning for Starry Night usually begins in early spring, and “with all of the likely restrictions in place on public gatherings, (the church) thought it prudent to cancel Starry Night Festival for this year.”

The festival, which Schrumpf said is usually attended by over 10,000 people, has taken place outside Greyhouse Coffee & Supply Co. on Chauncey Hill every fall for nearly two decades. The free event usually features a musical line-up, hands-on activities and booths from local vendors, which warrants no feasible way to restrict the number of attendees, Schrumpf said.

In addition to working with local business, Starry Night also partners with a different community-focused nonprofit each year, per its website. The festival works to raise money and awareness for said cause. 

Schrumpf said that while it was unfortunate that the event was cancelled, the risk of packing the festival's typical turnout into such a small area is “antithetical to the heart of Starry Night, which is to share in hospitality, creativity and a thoughtful togetherness — not put people at risk.”

He said it would be impossible to try to replicate Starry Night's atmosphere by modifying the festival to adhere to CDC guidelines, but the church is currently working with West Lafayette city governance to explore alternative ways to connect people with its usual vendors and meet community needs. 

"All of that is still a work in progress," Schrumpf said. 

Schrumpf said he hopes the festival will be able to regroup and continue its tradition in the coming years.

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