This is arguably one of the best times of year when it comes to getting out and about in the Bay Area. Foggy coastal skies turn blue, the weather is crisp and the golden fall light hits the hills in the best possible way.
Celebrate by taking the kids on a road trip to Half Moon Bay, where they can enjoy fields full of orange gourds, lots of family friendly entertainment or just a walk on the beach.
Here's a guide to events going on at the coast all month long, highlighted by the pumpkin contest weigh-off Oct. 14 and the 40th Annual Pumpkin Festival Oct. 19 and 20.
40th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-OffOct. 14, 7 a.m. - 11 a.m.
The World’s Greatest Gourd Growers and their astounding, mind-boggling, Volkswagen-sized orange orbs hope to squash the world record on Monday, Oct. 14 at the 40th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off — the “Super Bowl of Weigh-Offs” — in the World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay, California.
Organizers are offering $25,000 in prize money for a new world record pumpkin entered at Half Moon Bay. A host of accomplished, grizzled veteran growers will contend for the coveted title, the $25,000 world record prize and thousands of dollars in additional prize money.
In a pay-by-the-pound system, the winner is guaranteed a hefty $6 per pound for the champion mega-pumpkin. Defending champion Thad Starr, of Pleasant Hill, Ore., obliterated the formidable field at last year’s weigh-off with his humongous, mind-blowing 1,775-pound Atlantic Giant that set a new California weigh-off record. Beauty will share center stage with beefy brawn with a $500 prize awarded to the “most beautiful pumpkin” as judged by the audience based on color, shape and size.
The grand champion mega-gourd, along with the top five weigh-off pumpkins, will be displayed at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 19-20 from 9 am to 5 pm on Main Street. IDES Grounds, 735 Main Street, (650) 726-9652, www.miramarevents.com Media Contact: Tim Beeman, (650) 726-3491, email@example.com.
43rd Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 19 & 20, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
43rd Annual HALF MOON BAY ART & PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, Oct. 19-20.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, smashing entertainment with three stages of stellar live music, the Great Pumpkin Parade with six-time Gold Glove winner and all-time San Francisco Giants fan favorite J.T. Snow as Grand Marshal, 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.
There's also “Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands”, the Comcast Take 5 Lounge with giant screen TV, ultra-thrilling zip-line and bungee jump, tasty wines and microbrews, pumpkin-infused ales and margaritas, and the Sunday-only “Made on the Coast” local artists block with music, authors, book signings and a haiku contest.
Festival admission is free. Presented by the non-profit Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee which has raised several million dollars for community service organizations and civic improvements in its 43 year history.
With so much to see and do, visitors can use iPumpkin, the official mobile application of the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, to navigate their way through the festival. iPhone and iPad users can download the application for free. New to the festival this year is the first ever “Made on the Coast” locals’ block, which will feature original art of all mediums created by local artists on Main Street between Kelly and Mill streets on Sunday. Admission is free. Main Street,(650) 726-9652, www.miramarevents.com. Media Contact: Tim Beeman, (650) 726-3491, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 19 & 20, 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.
There is no better way to kick off the Pumpkin Festival fun than with a pancake breakfast! Come out to Mac Dutra Park for delicious buttermilk and pumpkin pancakes that are being served up as a fundraiser by the Half Moon Bay High School Basketball Teams. Cost of breakfast is only $10 and includes all-you-can-eat pancakes, coffee, orange juice and sausages. For a small donation patrons will receive the famous, secret recipe for the fabulous Pumpkin pancakes! Mac Dutra Park located at Kelly Street & Main Street, Half Moon Bay.
Oct. 20, 8 a.m.
Join in the fun with the Pumpkin run! Run or walk a 5k course or take on a 10k. Kids can sign up too with the “Kid’s Fun Run.” Each runner will receive a t-shirt, a pumpkin and breakfast. The run starts and ends at Hatch Elementary School, 490 Miramontes Road. Registration for adults is $30 and kids under 12 and seniors over 65 are $20. To register go to www.seniorcoastsiders.org or www.active.com.
11th Annual Haunted Hostel Halloween
Spend the evening with ghosts, goblins and ghouls as the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel hosts the 11th Annual Haunted Hostel Halloween. This spooky event is full of fun games, crafts and live entertainment, and offers the perfect opportunity to bring the whole family along for a night of fun. Take part in Halloween themed crafts and activities, while checking out the creative costumes. Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel, 16th Street & Highway 1, Montara, (650) 728-7177.
Join Half Moon Bay Coastside Tours on Sunday, October 27 to celebrate pumpkin season with two fun tours. South Coast Tour – Enjoy a beautiful drive past coastal pumpkin farms and beaches, plus a serene walk in the silent redwoods on the way to Harley Farms, where guests can sample the finest goat cheese, including Harley Farms’ seasonal special pumpkin fromage blanc. $95, transportation included. Downtown Half Moon Bay Tour – Learn about Half Moon Bay history while shopping and enjoying wine on this downtown tour. Participants will start at Barterra Winery for a glass of sparkling wine and an introduction to historic downtown Half Moon Bay. Afterwards, an enriching walking tour of the picturesque downtown allows tour-goers to see pumpkin art from all over the area. This downtown tour ends with more wine tasting. $55, transportation not included. 225 Cabrillo Highway South, (650) 720-7050, www.hmbcoastsidetours.com.
Pick-Your-Own Pumpkin Patches
- 4 C’s Pumpkin Patch – make a day of it at this pumpkin farm, where kids can venture through rows of pumpkins while also enjoying pony rides, train rides, slides and a petting zoo. 12371 San Mateo Road, (650) 726-9614.
- A. Repetto Nursery- at this pumpkin patch, visitors can choose from more than 30 different pumpkin varieties, meander through a corn maze and go for a hayride. 12331 San Mateo Road, (650) 726-6414.
- Andreotti Family Farm- after picking out a pumpkin, visitors can wander through the corn maze, eat candied apples and check out the animals on display. 329 Kelly Avenue, (650) 726-9151.
- Arata Pumpkin Farm – in addition to pumpkins, this family-friendly farm features pony rides, a haunted barn, a petting zoo, a hay maze and more. 185 Verde Road, (650) 726-7548, www.aratapumpkinfarm.com.
- Bob's Pumpkin Farm – visitors will find a large selection of pumpkins, a picnic area, farm animals, a corn maze and a hay pyramid. Cabrillo Highway (Hwy. 1), five miles south of Half Moon Bay, (650) 726-4567.
- Farmer Dom’s Pumpkin Patch at Harbor Village — pumpkins, family events, fundraisers, jumpers for kids, face painting, kite flying, costume contests, food, specials by the merchants, music, pie eating competitions and pumpkin carving competitions at Harbor Village mall located in Princeton by the Sea. 270 Capistrano Road, (888) 606-4862, http://farmerdomspumpkinpatch.weebly.com/
- Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm - life-long farmers Farmer John and his wife Eda grow more than 60 varieties of pumpkins and squash. Visitors can also check out an authentic Native American Teepee and take a ride on a vintage tractor. 850 North Cabrillo Highway, (650) 726-4980, www.farmerjohnspumpkins.com.
- Lemos Family Farm - this family farm specializes in year-round activities for children such as pony rides, tractor/train rides, petting zoo and more. 12320 San Mateo Road, (650) 726-2342, www.lemosfarm.com.
- Muzzi’s Ranch Pumpkin Patch – tucked in the hills, families can have fun picking pumpkins, climbing stacks of hay and finding their way through a corn maze at this farm. 950 La Honda Road, San Gregorio, CA 94074
- Pastorino Gifts & Plants – this family-run farm boasts hayrides, train rides, ponies, pet and feed farm animals, giant slides, and on the weekends there’s a haunted house and face painting. 12391 San Mateo Road, (650) 726-6440, www.pastorinofarms.com.
- ·Pumpkin Depot – visitors to this pumpkin farm will find some of the largest pumpkins in Half Moon Bay, plus other gourds, corn stalks and miniature bales of straw. 2710 N. Cabrillo Highway, (650) 400-0376, www.pumpkindepot.com.