Half-tonne pumpkin to take to the water

MAIDEN VOYAGE: Farmer Tim Harris on his pumpkin which he plans to sail in tomorrow.
MAIDEN VOYAGE: Farmer Tim Harris on his pumpkin which he plans to sail in tomorrow.

He may not be Cinderella but that hasn't stopped a Morrinsville farmer from taking his big pumpkin for a whirl.

Tim Harris is gearing up to row his 550kg pumpkin across Hamilton Gardens Turtle Lake tomorrow - a New Zealand first.

The Atlantic Giant Pumpkin which Mr Harris has been growing since October is in pristine condition to make its maiden voyage.

An internet search motivated the father of two to sail the pumpkin, and hopes his voyage across the lake will inspire others to participate at next year's Great Pumpkin Carnival.

"It would be great if we could get others interested in the sport so we could hold a regatta every year."

The sport has a dedicated following in America.

He began pumpkin growing three years ago when he entered a competition.

Although his wife thinks he's "crazy", she is supportive and his two primary aged children Olivia and Alex think it's great.

"The kids are excited about the row, just as excited as I am," he said.

From 2pm tomorrow at the Hamilton Gardens Mr Smith will hollow out the 550 kg pumpkin and hopes to hit the water at 3pm.

He is also doing it to raise the profile of the fifth annual Great Pumpkin Carnival to be held at the Hamilton Gardens this Sunday, March 30, from 10am to 2.30pm. It will be held on the Rhododendron Lawn, Gate 2, and will include the FreeFM downhill pumpkin roll. There's also competitions for the best Giant Pumpkin, Miniature Pumpkin, Autumn Harvest, Pumpkin Creation and a pumpkin cooking competition. The winner of 2013's Giant Pumpkin competition weighed in at 577 kgs.

For more information no the festival got to thegreatpumpkincarnival.co.nz.

Waikato Times