Lifestyle guru MARTHA STEWART will be rowing a giant 272 kilogram (600 pound) decorated pumpkin across a Canadian lake on Sunday (09OCT05) - after officials rushed her a permit to visit the country.

Stewart had looked set to miss the charity pumpkin race in Nova Scotia because her conviction for lying about a stock trade meant she needed special permission to enter Canada.

As a US citizen, Stewart would not need a visa, but those with criminal records must apply for a special permit.

Stewart initially said she doubted her trip would be approved in time but Canadian immigration officials, keen to avoid a public relations faux pas, contacted her office to say she would quickly get the permit if she applied for one.

Pumpkin farmer HOWARD DILL, organiser of the event, says, "We got a call from Martha Stewart Television about half an hour ago. She's coming.
"We're pretty happy. I mean, this was in the works for quite a while."

The annual Pumpkin Regatta features politicians, local celebrities and others who paddle 500 metres across Windsor's Lake Pesaquid in hollowed-out giant pumpkins.

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