Arty bales prove popular again

JOANNE BENNETT
Last updated 05:00 02/01/2014
Kurow hay bales
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ
MINIONS: Holidaymakers Chris and Arron Walsh had some fun with the Kurow hay bales, which are always popular with tourists.

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The Kurow "hay family" has had its annual makeover this summer, as minions from Despicable Me.

The Slee family from Kurow have been involved in erecting the tourist attraction for 30 years.

The first hay family appeared in 1983 when Hakataramea Valley woman Kathy Hanning brought the idea back after visiting Germany.

In the early days, a committee worked to organise the bales, but according to Carmen Slee, a member of her family was always involved.

"They're always very popular. They've become an icon of Kurow now. Everyone stops and takes photos, and it adds to the holiday atmosphere," Mrs Slee said.

For the last few years, the younger generation of Slees and their Tyrrell family cousins have taken responsibility for putting the exhibit together.

In 2012 the hay family took on a South Park theme, and next year The Simpsons may be in the pipeline.

The hay is grown and baled on the family farm, and transported to the site by tractor and trailer.

The two families spent about five hours preparing the minions. The eyes are made from the sawn-off bases of large white plastic barrels, and the paint is tail paint for cows.

"This year we used a compressor with a spray gun for the paint, which made it a lot easier," Janina Slee said.

Last year Janina left a banner with the South Park crew which read: "We're from Colorado, where are you from?"

"I couldn't believe how many names were on it and how often people stop," she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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