By Kelli WheelerThe Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival
October 15-16, 2011
Main Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 726-9652
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: free entrance

If you’re looking for a fun fall getaway then head to the San Francisco Bay Area and the “World
Pumpkin Capital” for the world famous giant pumpkin weigh-off in a beautiful seaside setting.
Besides traditional pumpkin festival fair, this huge event will have star-studded line-up of
entertainment, the Picasso of pumpkin carvers and the most enormous pumpkins you will ever
see. This event in its 41st year is an autumn classic that shouldn’t be missed.

Half Moon Bay is where gourd growers from around the nation come for the Super Bowl of
weigh-off events. The actual weigh-off will take place on October 10 with growers competing
for $25,000 in prize money and looking for a world record. The champion pumpkins will be on
display during the weekend festival with the big winner in the Pumpkin Parade – last year’s
winner was 1,658 pounds!

Fun for the Kids

The Family Stage will be powered by Radio Disney this year and they’re bringing four talented young artists from their popular show “Next Big Thing” to perform. Expect young girl screaming to ensue. Fun activities include the Pie Eating Contest, Pumpkin Carving, craft and face painting booths, and giant pumpkin photos. They’re also amusement rides at Kiddieland and an interactive Haunted Barn that is worth walking a little further for.

Fine Art and Crafts

Whether you’re coming to browse, admire, or look for a new art piece you will find thousands of
handcrafted items in booths covering several city blocks. Artists and craftmakers will be on hand
with their latest creations and impressive display of talent featuring original work in sculpture,
paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather, wood, metal and mixed media.
The Half Moon Bay festival is considered among the top art shows in the country and after
browsing the booths you’ll understand why.

Music and Entertainment

If you’re coming to hear some good music and maybe dance a little, there’s something for
everyone with a sensational lineup of the Bay Area’s best music scene. Featured performers,
The Dave Mathews Band, will be a big draw but the festival’s line-up will have you sticking around for more fabulous sounds. From Latin to country, acoustic to dance/cover bands, plus blues, rock and even folk singing you’ll be tapping your toe all weekend.


With this being a pumpkin festival, of course, pumpkin takes the center stage! Get your fill of
pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake rolls, pumpkin cheesecake,
pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin churros and chicken
pumpkin sausages. There’ll be plenty of offerings from local farms including Brussels sprouts in
marinara sauce, artichokes hearts with garlic and herbs, plus guilty pleasures of fried calamari,
garlic fries, Portuguese linguisa sausage and more to make you want to do the Pumpkin Run on

Wine and Microbrew

With good food must come good drink. This year’s festival will feature Half Moon Bay Winery’s
limited-release 2008 White Wine made from premium grapes grown in Mendocino County.
If beer is what you crave Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will offer its Mavericks Pumpkin
Harvest Ale, made with locally-grown Sugar Pie pumpkins. Sam Adams Oktoberfest, Harvest
Moon Pumpkin Ale, Coors and Coors Light will also be on tap as well as margaritas and mojitos,
new this year.

Special Attractions

You won’t want to miss world-class pumpkin carver “Farmer Mike” show-off his amazing carving skills by transforming giant pumpkins into fabulously detailed sculptures. If you’d like a challenge you can test your mountaineering skills on the rock-climbing wall, or see if you can go eight seconds on “Rocky” the Mechanical Bull. If you need a break stop by the Take 5 Lounge for a living room style rest with giant LED screens, food, drink, and sports on TV.

Special Events

Make sure to get there before noon on Saturday for the Pumpkin Parade with the weigh-off
champion and if you want to be in the Costume Contest it starts earlier at 10 a.m. in the Half
Moon Bay Library parking lot. Get a jump on your Sunday at the festival with the Pumpkin Run/
Walk that follows the picturesque Coastside Trail – Start time 8 a.m. at Hatch School. Rather
carbo-load without the run? Then come to the Pancake Breakfast both Saturday and Sunday
morning for plain or pumpkin pancakes 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Mac Dutra Park.

Directions to the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival and parking:To get to Half Moon Bay, take 101 or 280 to Highways 92 or 84 west. You can also get to
Half Moon Bay via Highway 1 from both north and south. The festival is on Main St. between
Miramontes and Spruce Streets in Half Moon Bay.

There will be parking at the south end of Main Street near Highway, Half Moon Bay High School
(Main St. just north of Hwy. 92), and at the Community Center/Shoreline Station complex,
located just north of Kelly Avenue on Highway 1. Parking fees apply. There is also limited free
parking on several side streets.

Kelli Wheeler is the author of MOMSERVATIONS® The Fine Print of Parenting, a family columnist
and mother of two living in Sacramento. You can read her humorous Momservations blog at and follow her on Twitter at .