As Galey Farms gets set to kick off Pumpkinfest Saturday, there’s a new attraction that will likely get most of the attention this year.
You can spot him from a distance with his classic red cap and thumbs up. And as the train approaches, there’s no question it’s Howard, the world’s tallest gnome.
“To have him finally sitting next to the railroad in the pumpkin patch which has been my dream for a long time, look how great he looks,” said Rob Galey.
Howard had grown decrepit in his final days perched next to a gas station in Nanoose Bay. He was built two decades ago by the owner of the Family Fun Park that used to sit on the property but in March the gas station owners said he would be torn down, and they set out to find a new home for Howard.
Rob Galey put in his bid, scooped him up, and went to work.
It’s been an extreme makeover with a new paint job and a whole new hand to new eyes, lashes, and lips.
“He wasn’t friendly before in my view, look at him, he makes kids want to go to him, look at how friendly he looks,” Galey said.
And like most Galey attractions, Howard moves. His hand waving at the crowds, and his eyes, blinking.
“He just has a magic to him,” Galey said.
And this year, helping to usher the large crowds for Pumpkinfest, there is a second train with a wheelchair accessible car.
“With the new hayrides and everything coming out this year, hopefully, all the lineups are gone at the farm,” he said.
And for years to come, they’ll be riding past Howard, the tallest gnome in the world. But there is a catch — Agricultural Land Reserve rules mean he can only come out for 90 days each year. The farm will have to remove his head and store it each winter.