LATEST: Martha Stewart's fight to attend a Canadian pumpkin festival on Sunday (09OCT05) was all in vain, after heavy rains forced her to back out of putting in an appearance.

With torrential rains battering the eastern seaboard all day on Saturday (08OCT05), the 64-year-old lifestyle guru was grounded at an airport in Maine.

VANESSA ROBERTS, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia hamlet of Windsor, which had been preparing for Stewart's visit, says, "Certainly, everybody was a little bit disappointed."

Initially barred from the Pumpkin Regatta because of a Canadian immigration rule that keeps out ex-convicts, Stewart subsequently received a green light to attend and paddle across a lake in a hollowed-out pumpkin.

Stewart served time behind bars for lying to federal authorities about a stock sale.

Festival organisers are hoping Stewart will attend next year (06).