The proud owner of the “Just Married” car in the Cruisin’ Around Saugerties auction is Brendan Amodio, owner of Mirabellas Restaurant. The purchase is appropriate; Amodio and his wife, Tara, were married just a month ago. The car, for which Amodio paid $600, contains models of a pair of horses in wedding finery.
The car, one of 38, was displayed in front of the restaurant this summer. It was created by Theresa Rowe Obert and sponsored by Blue Mountain Manor. The cars were all on display at the Saugerties Performing Arts factory on Saturday, Sept. 19. The gala auction raised more than $25,000, which was split between the Chamber of Commerce, the artists who worked on the cars and the Veterans Home in Kingston.
Bob Siracusano and Scout Thornton served as auctioneers.
The highest-selling car was the “Amphicar,” produced by Pat Harvey and Ham Barrie of Stage One Automotive and sponsored by Sue’s Restaurant. The car fetched $3,100. Second highest price, $1,000, was fetched by Makenster, created by Kevin Krauss and sponsored by Sawyer Motors followed by former Village Police Chief Bill Kimble’s police car, which fetched $900.
In addition, a stainless steel sculpture donated by Alex Kveton sold for $4,100.
While most of the cars maintained the basic shape of the original pedal car, some artists were more daring. Gus Pedersen’s car was completely reshaped to produce a sleek, streamlined appearance. The model was set at an angle, as if taking off. The car, sponsored by Helsmoortel Realty and Insurance, sold for $600.
Scott Southard’s “Starward,” sponsored by Saugerties Times and the Post Star, covered the original car completely with a larger space wing. It sold for the base $350.
Although the cars have been on display on the streets through the summer, many seemed new to spectators.
“We sold all the cars, and I’m happy with that,” said Siracusano. “I expected a little more, I expected a few more people coming out, but overall I think we did great. It’s a lot of work to put this on; the artists, the sponsors. But one car sold for $3,100; that’s an amazing car.”
Would the Chamber sponsor cars next year?
“That’s a good question. We’re looking for suggestions; we’re looking for something that would be better than this year or the years prior.”
Councilwoman Leeanne Thornton said she thought the auction went very well. “This is a real sense of the community,” she said. “You have merchants, you have people who just love the event, and it’s great that we were able to benefit Small World Playground.” (A call for donations to rebuild playground, located near the Kiwanis Ice Arena, fetched more than $6,000.)
The purposes of the street art include showcasing the talented local artists of the area, to attract visitors to Saugerties and to raise money for a local not-for-profit organization, said Chamber of Commerce President Mark Smith.
The cars were all moved in and out of the show space by Marissa Dixon and Zach Coons.