He won’t be able to speak for himself, but Howard, the world’s tallest gnome, will make his first appearance in front of Saanich council next month, when Rob Galey of Galey Farms will ask for a height variance.
Galey purchased Howard this spring, but height issues have so far kept Howard inside a “secure, not disclosed” location after his move from a gas station along the Island Highway near Nanoose Bay, where he had stood for more than two decades, starting in 1998.
Howard, for the record, is eight metres tall or just over 26 feet — about 16 inches too tall for Saanich.
Galey said he is asking for the variance when council meets Sept. 9 for its first regular meeting after the resumption of school.
“I refuse to lower him and take away his crown,” said Galey.
Another player in this saga, which would be called Howard and the Sixteen Angry Inches if it were a movie, is the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). It has made it clear that it would not permit Howard as a permanent structure, something Galey says he would respect. Howard, he said, will be in storage for most of the year, only to be wheeled out in the fall.
If approval is received from Saanich, Howard would appear in the pumpkin patch near the railway, part and parcel of the various attractions on the farm.
“You will get great views, great pictures from the pumpkin patch and the rail road,” said Galey.
This said, Galey said Howard won’t appear in public until he receives his requested variance.
Howard, meanwhile, continues to get ready for his closeup. Galey said restoration efforts have given him “beautiful blue eyes” to highlight his friendly demeanor.
Galey also confirmed that Howard will wave at visitors with one hand after crews have worked out the mechanics.
If everything goes well, visitors will get their first look at Howard on the weekend of Oct. 5-6, when PumpkinFest kicks off.
Visitors can also check out Howard as well as the other attractions on Oct. 12 to 14, as well as Oct. 19-20, and Oct. 26-27.
Howard’s pending appearance is part of larger celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the farm’s corn maze and market, with Galey promising additional details at a press conference scheduled for next month.