The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival is back, and it’s a big one! This year is its 51st annual event, taking place on October 14-15, 2023 from 9am-5pm on historic Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Get ready for a day of picturesque coastal views, live music and dancing, masterful pumpkin carvers, harvest-inspired crafts, endless pumpkin pie and other festive food, and of course thousands and thousands of pumpkins.
The accompanying 50th Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off will occur on October 9 ahead of the festival. This is where pumpkin masters from around the country duke it out for a chance to win the “Super Bowl of weigh-offs” and thousands of dollars in prize money. Last year’s winning pumpkin clocked in at 2,560 pounds, and champion Travis Gienger of Minnesota took home over $23K ($9 per pound). There is a $30K mega-prize on the table for anyone who can manage to break the 2,703-lb world record. This year’s winning pumpkin will then be displayed at the Pumpkin Festival for all to admire.
As for the festival on October 14-15, Half Moon Bay is pulling out all the stops for a delightful day celebrating the “Great and Almighty Gourd.” Here are just a few of the attractions you can look forward to.
Great Pumpkin Parade
This old-fashioned parade will happen at noon on Saturday. The procession will include the weigh-off championship pumpkin and its grower, marching bands, classic cars, fall-themed parade floats, and a Mardi Gras-style spooky procession of ghosts, goblins, and more.
Pumpkin carving by Farmer Mike
Farmer Mike has been wowing festival crowds with his creations for over 3 decades. He creates enormous detailed sculptures using the massive Atlantic Giant variety of pumpkins, which can be between 300 and 1,500 pounds.
World’s largest pumpkin sculpture
Check out a massive mosaic pumpkin sculpture by Reno-based artist Peter Hazel. It measures 12 feet long, 11 feet high, and weighs 10,000 pounds.
Harvest-inspired crafts by local artisans
Over 250 top artists and makers will be lined up on Main Street with original paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leatherworks, and much more for sale at every price point.
Pancake breakfast and food vendors
The festival will host a tasty pancake breakfast on both days 7-11am in the City Hall lot near Kelly Avenue. Other food options during the festival include sausage sandwiches, tamales, corn dogs, roasted turkey legs and turkey sandwiches, mac ‘n’ cheese, garlic fries, clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls, burgers, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, caramel corn, and caramel apples.
But not to worry, the star of the show is still pumpkin. You’ll be up to your ears in pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin churros, pumpkin cheesecake… you get the idea.
And much more…
- “Made on the Coast” Locals’ Artists Block (Sunday only)
- Four entertainment stages
- Great Pumpkin Run/Walk
- EveryBodyCanPaint Art Temple
- Xfinity Take 5 Lounge
- Family-friendly events and contests
- Pumpkin festival mascot “Gourdy”
- Costume contest
- Pie eating contests
- 3,000+ tons of pumpkins waiting to be picked!
Festival parking is available at the south end of Main Street, Half Moon Bay High School, Our Lady of the Pillar Church and the Community Center/Shoreline Station complex. Some nonprofit groups will also be operating paid parking lots. Bike parking is available at Kelly Ave and Purrisima Street. You can also get to the festival from the Daly City BART Station via SamTrans bus service. Be advised that pets are not allowed.