The creators of the Peace Fest event in Fulton are hosting a fundraiser this weekend they hope will benefit both their annual gathering and area youth in search of something to do.
The group is hosting a Teen Night from 7-10:30 p.m. Friday at the 19th Hole in Fulton for local youth ages 12 to 19. For a $10 cover, teens will spend the night dancing, listening to and creating music to raise money for the musically-centered Peace Fest held each June.
"It's a teen event - kids from middle school on up are invited to attend," said organizer Robert Thorpe. "We're going to have a lot of adult parent chaperones and some DJs and security people have donated their time.
"We'll have performances and we'll try to encourage kids if they're interested in music. If it works out, we'll probably do it twice a month."
Thorpe said the Teen Night is the latest in a series of events designed to help promote friendlier relationships between mid-Missouri youth from different communities while also giving them something positive to do.
"I was working in Mexico with the Grass Roots Organization learning about non-profits. The kids up there all hung out at the gas stations because there wasn't anything to do, so the gas stations started to close early because of the loitering," he said. "We thought about what we could do to get the kids off the streets and we created an event called the Community Project Alliance Tour."
Thorpe said the CPA tour drew youth from area communities - including Callaway County - who had an interest in music and brought them together with professionals in the industry who helped them learn some of the skills they need to be successful, such as networking with other artists to build up a fan base. They then had the young artists help organize and perform in concerts in Fulton, Mexico, Columbia and Jefferson City as well as traveling to Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City.
"We decided we would use entertainment and music because all kids listen to music," Thorpe said, noting the performances sometimes had as many as 25 artists. "It was good music they were making - we made them control what they were doing and make music with no cussing or derogative lyrics. They learned how to work together with kids from other towns and be more friendly with one another.
"Through music they've come together."
He said the group has a similar aim with Peace Fest.
"Right now Fulton's already got a bad stereotype about this side of town versus that side of town." Thorpe said. "Peace Fest isn't for a certain type of culture, it's for everybody to realize everyone can come together and have a good time."
He said the Community Project Alliance and Peace Fest organizers are working hard this year to achieve 501 C-3 non-profit status as well as to garner more support from area businesses and community leaders.
"If you support these kids, they will respect things - if they can see the community and businesses working together," Thorpe said. "It's all of our responsibility to kick in and give these kids something to do.
"Do something for them and see how they change."
He said he would encourage area parents to come out with their teenagers Friday night and find out what the event and the organization are all about.
"We wouldn't even charge the parents cover, although if they want they can donate to the cause," Thorpe said. "Just come out and support your kids. Make sure your kids are having a good time.
"Come out and have fun with your kids."