The Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, which takes place every year in October a couple weeks before Halloween, draws unbelievbable crowds of Bay Area folks willing to fight the terrible traffic just to see the giant pumpkins parade down Main Street. Or maybe it’s the pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin everything you can think of. The Great Pumpkin Parade is also a hit. Plus, families have made it a tradition to get their pumpkins in Half Moon Bay during this fun weekend event.
Get there early and enjoy the Pancake Breakfast. (If you wait, you’ll only get stuck in traffic.) You can get your photo taken with a 1,000+ pound pumpkin and send it to your mom (we always do). Or catch the Costume and Pie-Eating contests and the Pumpkin Run. The festival features live music on two stages, festival food, like roasted garlic Brussels sprouts (yes really, and there’s a line for it) and plenty of other activities.
WHAT: The Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival is free to attend.
WHEN: Every year in October.
- Events and Contests … Pancake Breakfast (Saturday/Sunday 7am)
- Costume Contest (Saturday, 10am)
- The Great Pumpkin Parade (Saturday 12 noon)
- Pie-Eating Contests (Saturday and Sunday 2pm)
- Smashing Pumpkins: Battle of the Bands (Saturday/Sunday 3pm)
- 5 & 10k Pumpkin Run (Sunday, 8am)
- Pumpkin Carving for fun/no judging (Sunday 10am)
WHERE: Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.
STAYING OVER: Check out the hotels in Half Moon Bay (but book early).
PUMPKIN FESTIVAL PARKING: Get there early and grab a free parking spot on one of the side streets. (Read the signs to avoid getting a ticket.) You can also try the south end of Main Street (near Higgins-Purissima Rd & Highway 1). Some parking is available at Metzgar and Main Street. For a small fee, you can park at Half Moon Bay High School (Main St. just north of Hwy. 92), at Seymour St. and Highway 1, and at the Community Center/Shoreline Station (just north of Kelly Ave. on Highway 1.)
SAVVY TIP: If you’re claustrophobic, get off Main Street while you can at least 30 minutes before the parade starts at noon.