BY JOHN CHICK
Special to The VOICE
With the Fonthill Arches set to rise again, the group responsible for the project is gearing up for a major fall fundraiser to help pay for them.
The Raise the Arches social event goes October 19 at the community centre, and while tickets haven’t gone on sale yet, Frank Adamson says demand is already high.
“We’ve already got people saying, ‘Where are the tickets?’” said Adamson. “Hopefully that will be the end of [this] week.”
Adamson, the reigning Pelham Citizen of the Year, is a major force behind the arches’ revival through the Rotary Club, working in conjunction with Pelham’s Summerfest Committee.
After all, it was Adamson and current Summerfest chair Bob Gibson who presented the plan to Pelham Town Council to bring the arches back, and pay for them solely through private donations— along with providing a reserve maintenance fund.
They appear to be well on track. Adamson says they have raised approximately $57,000 to date, with hopes that the fall fundraiser brings in another $20,000. He figures the project will cost around $80,000.
“We’re just finalizing what we think the costs are going to be, costing materials at this point in time,” Adamson said.
The fundraiser itself promises to be a major event on the community calendar.
“It’s going to be fairly high-end food, fine wine,” Adamson said.
Another highlight of the event will be the silent auction of loca artist Annette Steele’s painting of the arches, “Where We Gather.” Adamson also plans to use an image of the painting on thank-you cards, which will be sold later.
“She’s terrific,” Adamson said of Steele. “Just very, very passionate about the arches and getting them back up again.”
If everything goes according to plan, the new arches will arise above the same stretch of Pelham Town Square in the spring, well before next year’s Summerfest.
“It’s a day,” Adamson said, of how long it will take to raise the arches. “It’s basically a crane and putting them all together.”
The previous arches—made of low-grade plywood, to the consternation of many—were destroyed by wind last February. Rotary and the Summerfest Committee are overseeing the project with better-quality materials this time, and Adamson says they’ll last much longer.
“[The old ones] were meant to last a season, they lasted six,” he said. “Bill [Gibson] is designing the new ones, and he and I will be long gone before the arches will.”
There are 250 tickets available for the October 19 Raise the Arches event, at $75 each. They are expected to be on sale later this week at RaiseTheArches.ca, and at various locations around town.
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