COLUMBIA – After one month, the future of weekend parties for teens at Going Bonkers is uncertain. The parties have been held every Friday and Saturday since Sept. 27 at the indoor family playground and are co-sponsored by the U Matter Substance Abuse Prevention Campaign. The events are intended to provide a supervised activity in a controlled environment for middle, junior high and high school students. On teen nights, there is a live DJ and prize giveaways, and the hours are extended to midnight.
In the first four weeks attendance at the house party nights has been low. Only a family and a handful of teenagers were present Oct. 17 — all left before 9 :30 p.m. Numbers have been as high as 35 people, said Damon Sutherland, owner of Going Bonkers. He speculated the time of year is to blame for the low number.
"There is a lot of competition with other weekend events like concerts and football games," Sutherland said.
The teen nights will continue for the remainder of the month for Sutherland to gauge popularity. At that point, Going Bonkers will make a decision whether to continue the weekly events.
If the parties are discontinued, U Matter will look for other activities to advertise to teens, said Kristyn Wright, director of the U Matter campaign. A calendar of teen-appropriate events in Columbia is posted on its Web site, umatter.us.