Pumpkin Festival Abounds with Family Fun this Weekend

With the enormous popularity of jack-o-lanterns and Halloween, autumn is a season of family fun. Nowhere are the good times more evident than at all the events taking place during the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival on October 13-14.  Here’s a list of the family-oriented events at the festival:

On Saturday and Sunday  morning from 7 to 11 a.m., a hearty pancake breakfast, complete with sausage, juice, coffee, and plenty of maple syrup will be served up at Mac Dutra Park. This annual carbo-loading party benefits the high school basketball program.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., a Halloween costume contest will be held at Half Moon Bay Library in the parking lot at the corner of Correas and Church Streets. The costume contest is open to all ages with individual and group divisions. Hundreds of kids and adults turn out for this event before marching in the big parade.
Later on Saturday at  noon, the Great Pumpkin Parade begins. It’s the ultimate old-fashioned, home-spun parade featuring the mighty weigh-off champion pumpkin and grower, followed by marching bands, classic cars, floats, and a charming assortment of costumed ghouls, gargoyles, and ghosts. 12 noon Saturday on Main Street.


On Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 2:15, pumpkin pie eating contests will be held for kids 11 and under and 12 and older. This hilarious test of unbridled power-eating will take place in the Family Fun Zone at Bank of America, 620 Main Street. 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.
The Pumpkin Run is Sunday morning starting at 8 a.m on the Hatch School grounds 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. For information, call 650-712-7322.

On Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the pumpkin carving contest will be held in the Family Fun Zone at Bank of America, 620 Main Street. The carving contest is open to kids, grouped by school grade, and adults. Pumpkins and carving knives are provided to all entrants. The awards presentation will be held at 1:30 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. on the Family Stage at Bank of America, the Pumpkin Festival will showcase sensational homegrown artistic talent with “The Golden Gourds”, a youth talent show produced by local actor/director Michael Lederman. Featuring a wide variety of amazing talent, from singers, bands and dancers, to improvisational comedians and poets, “The Golden Gourds” will have a real “awards show atmosphere” complete with the presentation of gold-painted mini pumpkins to the performers. There will be 12 to 15 acts each day, with participants ranging from kindergarteners to young adults in their early 20s.


Throughout the weekend, visitors can watch world-class pumpkin carver “Farmer Mike" demonstrate his amazing carving skill transforming giant pumpkins into one-of-a-kind sculptures, test their mountaineering skills on Mobile Rock’s climbing wall, concoct their very own colorful wax hands, strap in for the showstopping “Froghopper” ride, stop by for creative facial designs at the High School Art Department’s face painting booth, and visit Kiddieland for amusement rides hosted by Coastside Children’s Programs.

Throughout the weekend, get your picture taken alongside the colossal weigh-off champion pumpkin. Thanks to the festival’s partnership with Hewlett-Packard, photos with the grand champion gourd will be taken to a whole new level. For $12, which benefits the Cabrillo Education Foundation, festivalgoers can have their photo taken alongside the giant weigh-off champion pumpkin. Using state-of-the-art HP digital cameras and printers, your photo will snapped and quickly printed onto a cardstock frame for a special take-home keepsake. The gargantuan gourd will be at the corner of Main and Miramontes Streets.

Throughout the weekend, for a real scream, wander through the haunted house put together by the scare experts at the Young Actors Workshop. They will team with the Spanishtown Historical Society to present a historically-themed Haunted Barn in the Johnston Barn with an undeniable Evil Spirit lurking in the shadows.  The Haunted Barn will be filled with historic artifacts from life on the Coastside a century ago including shops of horror featuring The Carpenter, The Blacksmith, The Farmer, The Merchant, and The Inventor. 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 $5.

Throughout the weekend, on the Family Stage at Bank of America, entertainment will be provided by the amazing acrobatic team of Grinn and Barrett, whose tightrope walking, juggling, comedy and magic keep young and old mesmerized.

On Sunday, October 7 at 1 p.m., creativity and a ghoulish sense of humor emerge in full force at the Scarecrow Contest at First National Bank at 756 Main Street. Categories include Families, Classrooms, Local Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations. Entry in the contest is free.

The Pumpkin Festival runs October 13-14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main St. between Miramontes and Spruce Streets in Half Moon Bay. Admission is free.

For information, call the festival hotline at 650-726-9652.



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