The World Pumpkin Capital is Bursting Out in Orange: Half Moon Bay Pays Homage to the Great Gourd with Epic Festival,
All-Time 49er Great Steve Young to Serve as Parade Grand Marshal
New $25K Mega-Prize for World Record Pumpkin
*Please note this information is from the 2012 event. Please return 3-4 weeks prior to the event when we post information for the 2013 event.
It's Pumpkin Time in Pumpkin Town!
Autumn is a stunningly spectacular season on the picturesque coast around the World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay. The dazzling journey is its own reward … magnificent vistas of seaside farm country dotted with vast, rolling fields of orange, scarecrows, barns, and pick-your-own pumpkin patches. It's the perfect time of year and the perfect place to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the fall season and Half Moon Bay does it like nobody else. The world-famous Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is the season’s big event, drawing hordes of visitors to the “World Pumpkin Capital” for a fun-filled festival on historic Main Street. This year’s 43rd annual festival will be held on October 19-20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Massive, mind-boggling, Volkswagen-sized weigh-off champion pumpkins on display, the mesmerizing and remarkably talented “Picasso of pumpkin carvers” sculpting and shaping a monster 1,200+ pound pumpkin into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, harvest-inspired crafts by America’s top artists plus the debut of “Made on the Coast”—a new “local artists block”, the richest/creamiest/tastiest pumpkin pie on the planet, three stages of blockbuster entertainment, everyone’s favorite home-spun parade, the Comcast Take 5 Lounge with giant screen TV, the debut of Spider Jump’s super fun bungee jump, enchanting events and contests for the whole family, the never-ending search for the Great Pumpkin, and a bumper crop of 3,000+ tons of the beloved orange orb waiting to be picked from one of the many rustic pumpkin patches around town are among the featured, not-to-be forgotten attractions. It’s the real thing … the authentic “autumn classic”.
Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off: $25K World Record Mega-Prize
The Big Week launches with the World's Greatest Gourd Growers and their enormous orbs gathering for the 40th Annual SAFEWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFF, the Super Bowl of weigh-off events, on Monday, October 14, (7 a.m., on the IDES Grounds, 735 Main Street, in Half Moon Bay). For the first time, a special $25,000 bonus mega-prize will be awarded for a new world record entered at Half Moon Bay. The current world record is 2,009 pounds, grown by Ron Wallace from Greene, RI. The new record was set at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA on September 28, 2012. Defending champion Leonardo Urena of Napa, CA, obliterated the competition at last year's Half Moon Bay weigh-off with his leviathan, gasp-inspiring 1,704-pound Atlantic Giant that set a new California state record. Urena is expected to return along with a host of accomplished, veteran growers to contend for the $25,000 world record prize. The grand champion mega-gourd, along with the top five weigh-off pumpkins, will be displayed at the Art & Pumpkin Festival, October 19-20.
The Great Pumpkin Parade Starring All-Time 49er Great Steve Young as Grand Marshall
Hall of Fame quarterback, Super Bowl MVP and all-time 49er great Steve Young will serve as honorary Grand Marshal of the Great Pumpkin Parade. "Steve Young has always been a heroic figure to Bay Area spots fans and is among the greatest players in the 49ers star-studded history," said Cameron Palmer, Chairman of the festival committee. "We're delighted and thrilled he has accepted our invitation to serve as parade Grand Marshal this year." Young, a Bay Area resident and current ESPN broadcaster, was named MVP of the NFL in 1992 and 1994, and the MVP of Super Bowl XXIX. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s the ultimate old-fashioned, home-spun parade featuring the mighty weigh-off champion pumpkin and grower, followed by marching bands, classic cars, fantastic floats, and a charming assortment of costumed ghouls, gargoyles, goblins, ghosts and assorted surprises. Saturday, 12 noon on Main Street.
Half Moon Bay to Unveil Its Own Great Pumpkin
This year’s Great Pumpkin Parade will also feature the biggest, heaviest pumpkin the town has ever seen. Emerging artist Peter Hazel, whose family has ties to the very first Pumpkin Festival, is the creator of this massive mosaic sculpture that measures 7-feet high, 12-feet wide, and weighs 6,000 pounds. But, unlike other giant pumpkins, this one is made of steel, cement, and ceramic tile. “I thought it would be the perfect fit for Half Moon Bay to have the world’s biggest mosaic pumpkin,” said Cameron Palmer, Pumpkin Festival Chairman, who hatched the idea with Hazel and commissioned the piece. “Castroville has the Giant Artichoke … New York City has the Big Apple … Half Moon Bay should have the Great Pumpkin!”
"Made on the Coast", Local Artists Block Debuts
This year’s festival will feature the work of 18 local artists on Sunday October 20th. Called Made On The Coast, this one-day pop-up show will feature Coastside artists who will be offering demonstrations and selling their handcrafted wares on Main Street between Kelly Avenue and Mill Street. Made On The Coast is composed of local volunteer artists who have spent many hours this summer putting the “Locals Lane” in motion, working in concert with the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee to make it a reality. Modeled on the Kings Mountain Art Fair “Locals Lane”, this project is 100% local—everyone on the locals committee and all booth artists must be true Coastside residents to participate.
Fine Art, Harvest-Inspired Crafts
Buyers and browsers will find thousands of handcrafted items in well-stocked booths covering several city blocks. Meet 250 of America’s top artists and craftmakers—offering great variety and price points to satisfy every budget—on hand with their latest creations. Featuring original work in sculpture, paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather, wood, metal and mixed media, the festival is considered among the top art shows in the country. Hand-blown glass pumpkins, beautiful vases, flatware, clocks, dishes, wall and table decorations, paperweights, stained and beveled glass, etchings, sculptures, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, beadwork, gold and silver jewelry, vests, handbags, hats, wallets, footwear, windchimes, and waterfalls will be among the thousands of items one-of-a-kind items available. "We have longtime festival favorites returning as well as many talented, new artists this year," said Kris Mason of the Pumpkin Festival Committee. "Every item you’ll see is handcrafted from beginning to end—it’s the perfect opportunity to meet the artists that conceive and do the work."
Get down, get funky and get your groove on! Three stages of sensational entertainment for all ages will transform Half Moon Bay into the Bay Area’s entertainment hotspot for a weekend during the city’s monster Pumpkinpalooza. Performing on the IDES Main Stage are The California Cowboys, Big Cat Tolefree, The Megatones, Brother Buzz, The Daniel Castro Band, Extra Large, Caravanserai, and Jim Stevens & Friends. The Ritz-Carlton Gazebo Stage will feature The Stan Erhart Band, High Mileage, The Robin Campbell Band, and Battlehooch. Street performers include Glitterface, HeartStrings Music, Emerson, Bob “Stickman” Culbertson and Oscar Reynolds.
Safeway Family Stage Powered by Radio Disney
Radio Disney, currently in the fifth season of its hugely popular “Next Big Thing”, will be bringing in talented young “NBT” artists to perform on the Safeway Family Stage (lineup to be announced). "N.B.T.," a daily multiplatform feature that launched the career of Hollywood Records recording artists Allstar Weekend, puts the spotlight on young recording artists and provides them with national broadcast and online exposure. Also rocking the stage throughout the weekend will be the Radio Disney Road Crew whose high-energy, interactive show will make you want to get up and move! The Radio Disney Road Crew will play all types of fun games with the kids and families, like Hula Hoop Showdown, Mummy Wrap, Costume Relay and Scary Karaoke where everyone will walk away a winner with prizes like DVDs, CDs, posters and more. Plus, kids can learn the dance moves to some of their favorite Radio Disney songs, including the new hit song, “It’s On” from Camp Rock 2.
"Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands"
Firmly established as a beloved and signature festival attraction, “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands” returns for an encore performance under the direction of impresario Ken Kelly. "Smashing Pumpkins is all about giving exciting, new rock and roll talent from around the Bay Area a chance to do what all bands love to do: perform in front of a live audience," says Kelly.
Fabulously Festive Food
Dig in! Community service groups feed the hordes of hungry festivalgoers. Their friendly volunteers will be dishing up hearty servings of tasty, homestyle fare—many featuring product from local farms. The sweet and spicy pumpkin, naturally, takes center stage: pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, cream-filled pumpkin cake rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin churros and chicken pumpkin sausages, to name a few. Then there are coastal favorites like Brussels sprouts steeped in a zesty marinara sauce, and artichoke hearts steamed with an aromatic blend of garlic, olive oil, and herbs. Plus traditional favorites like Portuguese linguisa sausage, hot beef sandwiches, corn dogs, roasted turkey legs, chicken and beef tamales, macaroni and cheese with pumpkin seeds, garlic fries, steamy clam chowder in sour dough bread bowls, crunchy nachos with jalapenos and cheese, warm chili, hamburgers, grilled corn on the cob, garlic fries, kettle corn, and huge baked potatoes with all the trimmings.
Delectably Delicious Drink
Thirsty my friend? Sip and savor luscious varietals from Half Moon Bay Winery including their limited-production festival-label 2010 Red Table Wine—a delightful blend of Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Petite Syrah and Viognier grapes and their 2008 White Wine a gorgeous blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Muscat Canelli, Fruiliano, Riesling and Arneis—plus Barefoot Pink Moscato, La Nebbia Sparkling Wine and mimosas—all available by the glass at two booths hosted by the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. The Pumpkin Festival-label Red Table Wine will also be available by the bottle (to take home) at The Beautification Committee merchandise booth. For beer lovers, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will offer its Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale, a Pale Ale made with locally-grown Sugar Pie pumpkins that are roasted with a secret blend of spices and added to the brew kettle. The result is a subtle pumpkin pie spice flavor balanced by a biscuity maltiness. Deelish! Or try their fabulous new Witbier, a refreshing Belgian style beer. Seasonal sensations like Sam Adams Oktoberfest, Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Coors and Coors Light will also be on tap. For a deliciously refreshing beverage alternative, enjoy a Sauza Original Margarita or Cruzan Rum Premium Mojito. Genuine Sauza Blanco Tequila masterfully blended with premium triple sec gives Sauza Original Margarita—the world’s most popular cocktail—its distinctive, smooth, and mouth-watering flavor. Cruzan Aged Light Rum blended with fresh lime juice, soda, a dash of bitters and mint poured over ice and you’ve got a delicious mojito, perfect for a warm afternoon stroll. Add a splash of Pumpkin Spice Syrup and you’ve got a refreshing and colorful Pumpkin-rita or Pumpkin-ito. VOSS Artesian Water, the festival’s official water sponsor, Sweet Leaf Original Sweet Tea, Sweet Leaf Mint & Honey Green Tea and assorted soda will also be available. Enjoy your favorite beverage in a beautiful, collector-item wine or beer glass adorned with the stylish festival logo.
“Ahoy, Matey! There be PIRATES haunting Half Moon Bay during Pumpkin Festival weekend in the Johnston Haunted Barn, aye! Not alive. Not dead.” The Haunted Johnston Barn features live (undead) actors from the Coastside Young Actors Workshop alongside audio-animatronic figures, projected and transparent ghosts, intense lighting, sound, and fog effects, and unexpectedly dropping and shwooping objects caused by unseen forces. The real treat is the young actors themselves, students from grade school through high school trained in the art of improvisation, staying in character, and playing for an audience. The theme of each room is based on a script, but the performers are able to interact and play with the visitors’ reactions, making each tour a unique experience. Every year, creative members of the Coastside Young Actors Workshop wow visitors with their theatrical skills, fabulous costumes and spooky special effects. The barn is located behind the Historic Jail at 505 Johnston Street. Admission is $7 per person or $25 for a Family 4-pack. Children 3 and under are free.
Farmer Mike, The Picasso of Pumpkin Carvers
This year, Farmer Mike, the “Picasso of Pumpkin Carvers” celebrates his 27th year as the Pumpkin Festival’s official carving expert. On his Pumpkin Festival stage, Farmer Mike has created whimsical faces, movie characters like MEGAMIND, a Wells Fargo stage coach, Puff the Magic Dragon, and even enshrined Pigeon Point Light House into the shell of a pumpkin. The Atlantic Giant variety of pumpkins he carves range in size from 100-pounds to more than 1,000-pounds each. Most of the detail work is done using a folding Buck knife and a variety of simple chisels. He typically carves two pumpkins a day during the festival and can be found at the Coastside Water District lot at 766 Main Street, about the mid-point of the festival grounds.
Giant Pumpkin Photos
How often do you get to see and touch a staggeringly-massive, hard-to-believe, larger-than-life 1,700+ pound pumpkin let alone get to have your photo taken alongside something so unusual? Thanks to the festival’s partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, photos with the grand champion gourd will be available for $15. Using state-of-the-art digital cameras and printers, your photo will snapped and quickly printed onto a cardstock frame for a special take-home keepsake. Photo sales benefit the Cabrillo Education Foundation. The photo booth is at the corner of Main and Miramontes Streets.
To launch your day with a good carbo-load, the High School Varsity Basketball Team will fire up the griddle to host the traditional Pancake Breakfast complete with mouthwatering plain or pumpkin pancakes, gobs of butter and maple syrup, grilled sausage links, fresh orange juice, and plenty of Peet's coffee. Cost is $10. Saturday and Sunday morning from 7 to 11 a.m. in Mac Dutra Park, Main Street at Kelly Avenue.
Hundreds of ghosts, goblins, ghouls and more model their ingeniously creative Halloween attire in the Costume Contest, a popular time-honored festival tradition before walking in the big parade. The costume contest is open to all ages with individual and group divisions. Saturday, 10 a.m. in the Half Moon Bay Library parking lot, at Church and Correas Streets.
Get up close and personal for this hilarious test of unbridled power-eating. Huge, gasping audiences gather to witness this stunning spectacle with each participant devouring and “wearing” a 9” pumpkin pie heaped high with whipped cream. Aside from power-eating, panache and style go a long way with audience judges. “To me, the pie eating contest embodies the essence of Pumpkin Festival,” said Wilbur Collins, the spiritual and emotional leader of the contest organizing team for many years. “It encourages participation, it’s loads of fun, and it’s open to everyone. Seeing kids with face and hair full of gooey pumpkin pie, whipped cream and a big smile, it’s a truly sight to behold.” On both Saturday and Sunday, age 11 and under at 2 p.m, age 12 and over at 2:15 p.m. in the Family Fun Zone in the Bank of America parking lot, 620 Main Street.
Non-competitive Pumpkin Carving will be available on Sunday in the Family Fun Zone at Bank of America, 620 Main Street. It is not a contest, there’s no judging or awards … it’s simply for fun. Pumpkins and carving knives are provided. Create your very own masterpiece anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The Pumpkin Run will be held on Sunday starting at 8 a.m. at Hatch School (on Kelly Avenue, just west of Highway 1). The run follows the picturesque Coastside Trail and features a 5 & 10k Run, 5k Walk and Kids Fun Run to benefit Senior Coastsiders. Info-line: 650-712-7322.
The Comcast “Take 5 Lounge”
Sports fans have a place to kick back and catch NFL and NCAA football and MLB playoff games on a giant LED screen in the Comcast Take 5 Lounge. It’s the perfect spot to take a break. Couch potatoes and sports fans will find the comfort and enjoyment of their own living room without ever leaving the event. The Take 5 Lounge is a place where festivalgoers can escape the teeming crowds, relax and hang out with friends while watching their favorite sporting events on a giant LED TV, a 9' x 12' screen with picture-perfect quality. Top that off with a tasty Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and an Italian sausage sandwich with zesty marinara sauce fired up by the Coastside Adult Day Health Center and you’ve got a winner.
Up and down the street, festivalgoers will be captivated by an array of amazing attractions. See the spectacular display of the top 5 pumpkins from the weigh-off. Catch massive air on Spider Jump’s super fun bungee jump. Test their mountaineering skills on Mobile Rock’s climbing wall. Concoct their very own colorful wax hands. Have some fun with creative facial enhancements at the High School Art Department’s face painting booth. Visit Kiddieland for amusement rides hosted by Coastside Children’s Programs.
Stock up on the latest and greatest official festival gear including screenprinted t-shirts, ladies tank tops, unisex hooded sweatshirts, zippered unisex sweatshirts, ladies long-sleeve fitted shirts, men's vintage long-sleeve t-shirts, kids sweatshirts, toddler long-sleeve shirts, infant rompers, hand-stitched caps, tote bags, beer mugs, lapel pins, key chains and more.
Awesome Festival App + Free Wi-Fi
We’re going mobile! Download the free Pumpkin Festival mobile app developed by Half Moon Bay’s phabulous Phondini Partners. This fantastic app is designed to enhance the festival experience for users by providing everything from a fact sheet with key details, information on special attractions, a detailed site map, event and entertainment schedules, door-to-door directions, push messaging alerts, Facebook and Twitter integration, and visitor information via a full-function version of Phondini's iCoastside app. The app, scheduled to be available the first week of October, will be compatible for the Apple and Android markets. Free Wi-Fi will be provided throughout the festival area by the good folks at Coastside.net!
Coastal Arts League Pumpin Festival Design Contest Exhibit
The logo design for this year's festival was created by Portland, OR-based artist Rebecca Coffman, winner of the 2012 Pumpkin Festival Poster Design Contest. Entries from the 2013 Pumpkin Festival Poster Design Contest, a joint effort by the Coastal Arts League and Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee, will be on display as part of a special show during the month of October at the Coastal Arts League Gallery, 300 Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Stop by to vote for the “People’s Choice” award and to see the submissions for next year’s festival. A special preview and reception, with all contest entries on display, will be held on Friday, October 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Coastal Arts League.
Organic, Healthy & Green Products Showcase
This year’s festival will feature the latest and greatest exhibits featuring Organic, Natural, Healthy and Eco-Friendly products. Festivalgoers can enjoy free product samples and gather information while experiencing first-hand how these products and organizations can help you live a better, healthier and “greener” lifestyle and be a positive catalyst for change. Sponsors include Safeway “Ingredients for Life”, LightLife Veggie Burgers, Chevrolet Volt, The Solar Company, ONE—The Organic & Natural Experience, Larabar, Cascadian Farm, Food Should Taste Good, Amway, SolarCity, Farm Fresh To You, VOSS Artesian Water, Dave’s Killer Bread, Sweet Leaf All-Natural & Organic Tea, Evolution Fresh and Allied Waste.
Home & Garden Exhibits
For home improvement ideas, check out product displays and chat with representatives from Renewal by Andersen, Heavenly Greens, Cutco Cutlery, BathFitter, and Black Diamond Landscaping.
Win great prizes, enjoy free samples, meet the personalities and experience the latest products from festival sponsors: Safeway, Chevrolet, Wells Fargo, DBI Beverage, Provident Credit Union, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, Black Oak Resort & Casino, GEICO, Hills Pet Nutrition, First National Bank, California Department of Tourism, American Laser Skincare, David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa, DirecTV, Gold Rush Getaways, AT&T “The Real Yellow Pages”, YP.com, CBS 5—Channel 5, The CW—Channel 44, KOFY TV 20, Comcast, Yelp!, Bay Area News Group, San Mateo County Times, Radio Disney AM 1310, Alice 97.3 FM, KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM, KOIT 96.5 FM, KMEL 106.1 FM, KYLD 94.9 FM, and KCBS 740 AM/106.9 FM.
Zero Waste Initiative
The Pumpkin Festival Committee will once again partner with Allied Waste Services, the City of Half Moon Bay and Coastal Repertory Theatre to promote and encourage maximum recycling. “Every day we talk about ways to reduce, re-use, and recycle,” said Melvin Mello Jr., Pumpkin Festival Director. “We’re on a mission to make this a Zero Waste festival—it’s a major priority for us and something we diligently plan for and try to improve upon every year.” The Pumpkin Festival garbage and recycling operation is run by volunteers from the Coastal Repertory Theatre. In keeping with the festival’s tradition of involving community organizations, the theater troupe has been in charge of the massive garbage/recycling detail for nearly 20 years, relying on the festival as one of its biggest fund-raising activities. “It’s hard work with extensive planning and coordination, but it’s important to all of us that we present a clean, ‘green’ event,” said Tom Woosnam of the Coastal Repertory Theater. “We’re proud to be a part of such an important community effort.”
“Since the founding of Safeway, our philosophy and vision remain the same –– provide value and give back to the community where our customers and employees live and work. Safeway is a proud sponsor of the Art & Pumpkin Festival.” The Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee salutes Safeway for its commitment to the community. Safeway has been the Pumpkin Festival’s presenting sponsor since 1990 and has been an instrumental partner in the festival’s fund-raising success.
The Half Moon Bay Beautification Comittee
The Pumpkin Festival was created by the newly formed Main Street Beautification Committee in 1971 as a means for restoring historic downtown Half Moon Bay. That first year, buildings were painted, trees were planted and a legend was born. Since then, the festival has helped raise several million dollars for civic projects and community service organizations throughout the coastside.
There will be parking at the south end of Main Street near Highway 1, at 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. Many parking lots are operated by local non-profit groups who charge a nominal parking fee. There is also very limited free parking on several side streets.
There will be specially marked handicapped parking on Purissima Street between Correas Street and Kelly Avenue.
Main Street will be closed to traffic from Mill Street south to Monte Vista Lane throughout festival weekend. Southbound Main Street will not be accessible from Highway 92 from 8 AM to 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Main Street will re-open at approximately 9 PM on Sunday. Departing town, Highway 92 eastbound will not be accessible from Main Street (either from the north or the south). The only way to go eastbound on Highway 92 is from Highway 1.
First Aid/Lost & Found
Is located in the Small Hall on the IDES Grounds, the main food court and music stage area in the center of the festival.
Diaper Changing/Family Rest Stop
The Community United Methodist Church will be hosting the “Rest Your Wear Soles” Diaper Changing/Rest Area. The church is located at the corner of Miramontes and Johnston Streets, one block east of Main Street.
No Pets, Please
The City of Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County Sheriffs Department will be enforcing the ordinance prohibiting pets on the festival grounds. For the safety, comfort, and courtesy of your pets and festival-goers, please leave your pets at home. Large crowds make it a very stressful and dangerous environment for pets.
The free-admission festival will be held on October 19-20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street between Miramontes and Spruce Streets in Half Moon Bay. 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.
For festival information, call the Info-Line at 650-726-9652 or “like” our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HalfMoonBayPumpkinFestival.