In 2010, the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin festival takes place on October 16th and 17th. The event is held on several blocks of Half Moon Bay’s picturesque Main Street. The pumpkin festival features an art and crafts fair, two sound stages where live bands perform, as well as a family stage that offers abundant activities for kids including a pumpkin carving competition, a magic show, face painting and a supervised rock climbing wall.
The list of things to see, do, and experience at the festival includes shopping for folk art, fine art, craft works, and other items perhaps best described as trinkets or even kitsch. There is a very large selection of interesting handmade items for sale from vendors who operate locally, as well items from merchants who ply their wares by travelling along California’s fair circuit throughout the year. The marketplace is a great place to get some very unique items, including a huge selection of ornately painted glass pumpkins in a range of sizes, colors, and styles.
The competition for the largest pumpkin draws entrants from across the country, with the 2009 winner having travelled all the way from Iowa with a 1,658 lb pumpkin in tow. While it may be hard to imagine why someone would bring such a huge pumpkin such a long way, consider that the payout for the victory netted Don Young a cool $9,948 in prize money. It’s safe to assume the 2010 contest will see further escalation in the battle to be crowned “grand champion gourd”.
After the contest winner is determined, festival patrons have the chance to be photographed with the massive pumpkin with prints available instantly onsite as a memento of the occasion. This might not sound like a “must-do”, but be assured, having your picture made standing alongside an almost 1-ton gourd makes for an image like few others.
It’s best to bring your appetite to the festival, because there is a wide variety of cuisine on offer from vendors all along main steet. Dishes feature some of the area’s signature locally grown foods, including artichoke hearts, Brussels sprouts, and of course a massive selection of treats featuring pumpkin, including the ever-present and always delicious pumpkin pie. Carnivores need not worry, as coast side favorites such as fried Calamari, clam chowder, and even beef ribs are readily available.
Whether you prefer exploring the vendor tents, chilling out at one of the sound stages with a glass of beer or wine, or getting creative at the kids’ pumpkin carving contest, a visit to the festival offers something for everyone in the family
More information about the festival is available at http://www.miramarevents.com/pumpkinfest
Half Moon Bay is accessible from the San Francisco or Santa Cruz via Highway 1, and from the East via either Highway 92 or Highway 84. One thing that relatively few people seem to realize is that the route that utilizes Highway 84 followed by heading north on Highway 1 is generally much less crowded and gives an opportunity to enjoy a scenic drive up the coast.