By Michelle Fitzsimmons
City on a Hill Press Co-Editor in Chief
Santa Cruz boogied down for a good cause March 28, and earned itself a world record in the process.
One hundred and sixty- one people donned Afro wigs, the largest number ever at one time, as part of an event to raise money for a single-parent family that couldn’t afford their next mortgage payment due to the national housing crisis.
Church Street at Pacific Avenue was cordoned off to traffic, and Afro-clad participants danced to “Play That Funky Music White Boy” and other disco classics, pausing only to take the official world record photo.
The event was sponsored by Possibility Advocate Society (PAS), a web-based community that works to turn local residents’ dreams into realities.
Santa Cruz resident Virgil Robinson founded PAS and coordinated the event.
“Truthfully, I only expected 10 people to show up, and that was my family,” he said. “All this is cake.”
Participants were asked to donate $10 toward the mortgage fund. One single mother was the recipient of the collected donations, but her name was not released.
While PAS fell short of the needed $2,100, Robinson and his fellow record-holders weren’t discouraged.
“For all of you here today, you should feel good,” Robinson told the lively crowd. “Los Angeles, San Francisco, they’re gonna try to break [the record] tomorrow, but we’re going to set it today.”
Neither city succeeded in breaking the record.
News about the world record attempt and the charitable reason behind it spread throughout the Bay Area, and the number of out-of-towners in attendance struck Santa Cruz locals.
“I’m amazed how many people were not from Santa Cruz,” said long-time resident Whitney Wilde. “I just spoke to some ladies who came from San Francisco.”
Sue Dormanem was visiting Santa Cruz with her niece for spring break. They heard about the event in the newspaper and couldn’t resist being part of the world record and helping out a family in need.
“It makes you feel like you’re not wasting your time having fun,” she said.
Others came simply looking for a good time.
Santa Cruz local Vnes Dowling, sporting a rainbow Afro wig, joked that her friends dragged her downtown. And although she didn’t know about the fundraising aspect of the day, she was ready to party with the rest of Santa Cruz.
“This event is pretty much about having a good time and getting people together to have a good time,” she said.
Wilde was also drawn to the communal and jovial atmosphere of the event. But while she admired Robinson’s dedication to helping out ailing members of the community, she said that this one event fell short of solving the larger symptoms of the economic crisis.
“The problem is too big,” she said. “I think [the event] is not enough. I admire [Robinson’s] thought. I wish he was president.”