43rd Annual HALF MOON BAY ART & PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, Oct. 13-14. The World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay celebrates its bountiful fall harvest and autumn splendor with a special display of gigantically enormous/heavyweight champion pumpkins, three stages of smashing entertainment, stellar live music, the Great Pumpkin Parade with Grand Marshal, Hall of Fame quarterback, Super Bowl MVP and all-time 49er great Steve Young, a bone-chilling Haunted House, harvest-inspired crafts, homestyle foods, expert pumpkin carver Farmer Mike sculpting a monster 1,200+ pound pumpkin into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, photos with the grand champion mega-gourd, pie-eating and costume contests, pumpkin carving for fun (not a contest), “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands”, the Take 5 Lounge with giant screen TV, tasty wines and microbrews, pumpkin-infused ales, margaritas and mojitos. Admission is free.
Kicking off the Big Week, the SAFEWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFF—the Super Bowl of weigh-offs—will be held on Monday, October 14 (7 a.m. on the IDES Grounds, 735 Main Street, Half Moon Bay). For the first time, a special $25,000 bonus mega-prize will be awarded to the grower of a world record pumpkin 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.
- Live Music and Entertainment on three stages … the sensational lineup includes everything from contemporary country, Latin rock, salsa, blues, folk, and classic rock ‘n roll music by some of the Bay Area’s biggest name bands. 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. The Family Stage will showcase talented young performers from Radio Disney’s “Next Big Thing” and “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands” featuring the musical genius of sensational, up-and-coming rock bands.
- Food & Drink ... pumpkin-flavored treats like pumpkin pie, pancakes, ice cream, smoothies, cheesecake, sausages, churros, cookies and bread, along with hearty stews of artichokes and Brussels sprouts, tamales, macaroni and cheese with pumpkin seeds, corn-on the-cob, roasted turkey legs, hot beef sandwiches, baked potatoes, clam chowder, chili, nachos, luscious varietals from Half Moon Bay Winery and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale made with locally-grown pumpkins that are roasted with a secret blend of spices.
- Events and Contests ... Pancake Breakfast (both days, 7 AM), Costume Contest (Saturday, 10 AM), The Great Pumpkin Parade (Saturday, 12 noon), Pie-Eating Contests (Saturday and Sunday, 2 PM), “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands” (Saturday and Sunday, 3 PM), 5 & 10k Pumpkin Run (Sunday, 8 AM), Pumpkin Carving for fun/no judging (Sunday, 10 AM).