Half Moon Bay

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Art and Pumpkin Festival
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Half Moon Bay, California Pumpkin Festival

Half Moon Bay Pumpkin festival photos


Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival Oct. 16 & 17, 2010


Who could imagine that the epicenter of California big wave surfing would also be about pumpkins? Some things just don't make sense...or maybe they do.


One of the Bay Area's most attended Halloween-themed functions (next to the Exotic Erotic Ball), is the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival.  With several pumpkin growers dotting this region and its coast, the biggest boon to local economies come from special events such as the Pumpkin Festival, which fills up hotel rooms during an off-season and attracts thousands of people from San Jose, Redwood City, San Francisco, Napa, and Santa Cruz to enjoy old-fashioned fun.


Events such as a Scarecrow Contest, Pie Eating Contest, Biggest Pumpkin Contest and huge vendor showcases, plus live bands, bring the fun out into the streets of Half Moon Bay, located in San Mateo County. Beach events that include agriculture are rarely seen in Southern California, but thankfully, once you hit the Central Coast and head north, you discover that there's still some farm land for growing crops that thrive so well in the year-round California sunshine. And pumpkins seem to be a fairly easy crop to produce.


In addition, the inland valleys surrounding Half Moon Bay often do well for growing grapes for wine. That helps explain why each year the Pumpkin Festival (pushing half a century-long), is more and more featuring locally crafted boutique wines from surrounding vintners and delicious ales that city's very own Half Moon Bay Brewing Company wins awards at fairs and contests for.


For tourists, the charm of this special, annual event is partially in its foods and flavors, and largely in the beautiful setting. Half Moon Bay meets the sea just south of San Francisco, but is flanked by a set of gentle, mellow hills to its east. When you stand at the beach and look east, you often can see a soft blanket of fog rolling in late in the day, or subsiding in the early morning sunshine.


Half Moon Bay's downtown shopping area is casual, comfortable and appealing. Cafes and shops provide a blend of unique, non-chain store offerings to make for a few hours of exploring.


When visiting this event, the hotel rooms mostly fill up. If you don't find something available in Half Moon Bay, try nearby cities such as Pacifica for lodgings.