By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Thursday, February 1, Papa Cause visited the Elliot Community Center to share his message with Gadsden citizens.
Litchfield Middle School Band got the show started with an energetic performance.
Heather Brothers New with the Gadsden-Etowah Chamber welcomed everyone to the event, and thanked Papa Cause and his creator John Solomon Sandridge for gving back to the Gadsden community.
“He is reinvigorating the spirit of unity, the spirit of positivity in our community,” said New. “We are so blessed to have this artist son of ours return to our community and reinvest in our community.”
Gadsden City Councilwoman Dr. Cynthia Toles spoke next and discussed her history with Sanbridge, with whom she grew up and attended school.
Sandridge is a painter, sculptor, illustrator, author, educator, inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is well-known as the first black artist licensed during the early 1990s by The Coca-Cola Company to incorporate African-American themes in their artwork. He was also commisioned to make a sculpture for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Sandridge created the concept of Papa Cause, the friend of Santa Claus. Papa Cause, with The Number 2 Pencil Foundation, travels to speak at and donate books to schools.
After New and Toles spoke, a skit was performed for the crowd. The skit started with narration of a family going shopping for Christmas gifts or wishing for Christmas gifts at the Gadsden Mall. In the skit, the daughter spots a book she wants and hopes Santa will bring it for Christmas, but their mother tells them Papa Cause will bring them books any day of the year. Their father says that Papa Clause is not real. The narrator introduces Ezee-Pezee, an angel who instructs the kids to wish for Papa Cause to appear. Papa Cause appears to the delight of the kids. Papa Cause tells the family that he likes having fun and making people happy and that he is Santa Claus’s best friend. Papa Cause went on to pay an audience member’s rent for a month.
After the skit, Gadsden Mayor Sherman Guyton presented Papa Cause with a proclamation that named the first Saturday of February Papa Cause Day.
Papa Cause and Sandridge proceeded to ask audience members questions, and if they answered correctly, they won “magical two dollar bills.” The two also informed the crowd that they were pplanning to make a Papa Cause feature length film in Gadsden.
On Saturday, February 3, Papa Cause visited the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, where the audience won copies of Papa Cause books.
For more information about Papa Cause, visit www.papacause.com.