No food trucks, art vendors or performers for September’s First Friday, organizers say

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Big changes were announced Friday for the upcoming First Friday event in the Crossroads District.

It’s been nearly a month since 25-year-old Erin Langhofer died in a shooting there, and event organizers said they’re dealing with the aftermath.

“Event insurance was canceled on us just two weeks ago from the violence we had a month ago,” said Jeff Owens, chair of First Fridays. “This insurance loss was not on our radar and completely changed things.”

The staff are currently in search of a new insurance provider.

But in the meantime, there will be changes for the Sept. 6 event.

“The Crossroads will still be open for business; all the galleries will be open, restaurants, and retail shops, but we will not have any street activities,” Owens said.

Food trucks, art vendors and performers will not be allowed on streets and sidewalks within the festival permit boundary due to the loss of general liability insurance. There will also be no street closures.

This change caught some participants off guard.

“It’s unfortunate the event has to be changed like it is for this month; however, it’s understandable. I’m hoping past this hiccup in September, we will be back in full force by October,”said one vendor.

She said she was preparing to celebrate one-year of involvement with First Friday next week.

Organizers hope they can have the event back to normal by October, where they will introduce a new set of permanent changes, including closing earlier, a curfew for anyone under 18, a smaller food truck area and no amplified music.

“It is incredible the passion that Kansas Citians have for First Friday. We are going to do our best to get it back to normal,” Owens said.

As part of the September event, organizers are also promoting a celebration of life for Erin Langhofer.

The event will be held at the Church of the Resurrection downtown at 1601 Grand from 6-7:30 p.m. on Sept. 6. Mayor Quinton Lucas said he plans to be in attendance.

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