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Fort Myers Beach Rocks the Arches

May 9, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The rain may have put a little bit of a damper on things, but the skies cleared up in time for the main event to take the stage at the Rock the Arches Music Fest on Saturday at Bonita Bill's.

David Rojas Jr. and Jenny V. led off with original acoustic material, John and Mary Sherman did some cover music from the '60s and '70s, and hard rock cover band Bad Latitude were the featured acts at the event that raised funds in the continuing quest to rebuild the Fort Myers Beach arches.

The event was a fundraiser to get 3-D imaging done on the original Fort Myers Beach gateway arches, which were a landmark in the area for more than 50 years before they were demolished nearly 40 years ago.

Article Photos

Bad Latitude performs at the Rock the Arches Music Fest on Saturday at Bonita Bill’s.


Ray McDonald, president of Restore Fort Myers Beach Arches, a non-profit organization devoted to restoring the historical landmark, said the organization was formed over a Facebook conversation set up by founder Paul Sessions.

"We want to bring in the University of Florida 3-D imaging team to see how we can incorporate the remains of the arches and make them larger, wider, taller and longer," McDonald said. "Fort Myers is the City of Palms, Fort Myers Beach is the city of Arches."

McDonald said the cost of the imaging is more than $6,000. The imaging is set for Oct. 13, when McDonald said the arches will be raised for the first time since 1979.

Jane Luchi, vice-president, said the group is working hard, with this being the first big fundraiser, but there is still much to do.

"We're trying to get the imaging, working with the government, you know how that goes," Luchi said. "We got sponsors throughout the entire beach. These arches are historical and we want our history back."

The remains of the arches are in the yard of the grandson of the man who took them down, as they knew the historic significance of the arches. Some of the people who lived there at the time picked up some of the remains and kept them for themselves.

There was a 50/50 raffle as well as raffles for gift certificates and other prizes as the event ran up against two other big events, Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby.

The event was sponsored by Oyster Bay RV Park and Sign Tech. Also there live was 96K-Rock.

McDonald said he couldn't control the weather, but he did raise money and awareness for their cause.

"I still want to know where you found me," Sherman asked. "I'm from Bonita Springs and I've never seen this guy before."

McDonald said he went to high school with one of the members of Bad Latitude and he was more than happy to help out the cause.



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