Helping a possibly dazed Mayor Marv Junkin celebrate his $650 auction victory, from left, Councillor John Wink, arches advocate and current Kinsmen Citizen of the Year Frank Adamson, Junkin, Regional Councillor Diana Huson, Councillor Mike Ciolfi, and Pelham CAO David Cribbs. RIC GRETSINGER PHOTO



The other bidders didn’t stand a chance once Mayor Marv Junkin put his mind to winning.

The object of his desire was the painting, “Where We Gather,” by local artist Annette Steele, auctioned off last Saturday evening at Fonthill Rotary’s Raise the Arches Social fundraising event at the community centre.

“I can’t really explain it,” said Junkin, later in the evening. “But I was going to get that painting.”

Reminiscent of the lost souls being returned to earth at the conclusion of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steele’s image depicts revelers partying under the former arches, which were badly damaged by strong winds earlier this year.

By Junkin’s estimate, some 200 attendees were on hand Saturday evening —including members of the previous as well as current Town Council—as live and silent auctions aimed to help cover the cost of resurrecting a new and improved version of the arches.

Some $4,000 was raised through the silent auction and a donation jar alone.

Fonthill Rotary and the Pelham Summerfest Committee have pledged a combined $56,000 toward the effort. Naming rights to individual arches have sold quickly, according to Frank Adamson, who says that just under half of the arches are still available, at $2000 per side.

Junkin’s winning bid for the painting was $650.

“I may not be able to heat the house this winter,” he joked.

For now, the painting is destined to hang in Junkin’s office at Town Hall.

Organizers are aiming for an official, grand-reopening of the new arches on Canada Day 2020.