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World Pumpkin Capital Celebrates the Great and Almighty Gourd!

MEDIA ALERT – Sept. 19, 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Tim Beeman 650-726-3491 (office) or 415-999-2428 (mobile)
WEBSITE: http://pumpkinfest.miramarevents.com
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TWITTER: https://twitter.com/HMBPumpkinFest/  

Hunting for an Orange October? Half Moon Bay’s Your Spot!
46th Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, October 14, The Super Bowl of Weigh-Offs:
Superstar Growers Butt Gourds and Vie for Super Hefty Top Prize of $7/Pound and $30k World Record Prize
49th Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, October 19 & 20, The Grandaddy of America’s Festivals
Super Pumped Up Pumpkin Mecca Half Moon Bay’s World-Famous Celebration of the Great and Almighty Gourd
See Statement Below From the San Mateo County Sheriffs Department

The roads are open, the sky is clear, people are smiling, autumn is HERE! Yes indeed, the Coastside’s wondrous and highly-anticipated autumn season is truly here and on the picturesque coast around the World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay is stunningly spectacular. The dazzling journey is its own reward … the tunnel through Devils Slide is a sight to behold plus the breath-taking views of seaside farm country dotted with vast, rolling fields of orange, scarecrows, barns, and pick-your-own pumpkin patches. It's the perfect time of year and the perfect place to celebrate the beauty and bounty of the fall season and Half Moon Bay does it like nobody else. The world-famous Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is the season’s signature event, drawing hordes of visitors to the “World Pumpkin Capital” for an epic festival on historic Main Street. This year’s 49th annual festival will be held on October 19-20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. 

Massive, mind-boggling, Volkswagen-sized weigh-off champion pumpkins on display, the mesmerizing and remarkably talented “Picasso of pumpkin carvers” sculpting and shaping monster pumpkins into one-of-a-kind masterpieces, boo-tiful harvest-inspired crafts by America’s top artists, the Sunday-only “Made on the Coast” Locals’ Artists Block featuring fine art and live music, fabulously festive food and drink, the richest/creamiest/tastiest pumpkin pie on the planet, four stages of blockbuster entertainment, everyone’s favorite home-spun parade, the world’s largest mosaic pumpkin sculpture that measures 12-feet long, 11-feet high and weighs 10,000 pounds by artist Peter Hazel, the Xfinity Take 5 Lounge with giant screen TV, ultra-thrilling bungee jumping and waterballerz, enchanting events and contests for the whole family, selfies and fun with the delightfully rotund, playful and mischievious Pumpkin Festival mascot “Gourdy”, the never-ending search for the Great Pumpkin, and a bumper crop of 3,000+ tons of the beloved orange orb waiting to be picked from one of the many rustic pumpkin patches around town are among the extraordinary, not-to-be forgotten attractions. 

At the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, public safety is our utmost priority. We want to assure the general public that we are working closely with the City of Half Moon Bay, CalFire and the festival organizing committee to coordinate resources and have prepared a robust plan to make this year’s Pumpkin Festival safe and family-friendly for all. There will be a high visibility presence with deputies from various Sheriff’s Office units participating. We are taking a balanced approach that we believe will ensure public safety while maintaining the friendly, positive atmosphere of this beloved and always well-attended historic event. We look forward to seeing everyone in downtown Half Moon Bay.

The Big Week launches with the World's Greatest Gourd Growers and their titanic orbs doing battle in the 46th Annual SAFEWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PUMPKIN WEIGH-OFF, the Super Bowl of weigh-offs, on Monday, October 14 (7 a.m., on the IDES Grounds, 735 Main Street, Half Moon Bay). Organizers are offering a hefty, world’s biggest top prize of $7 per pound and $30,000 in total prize money for a new world record entered at Half Moon Bay plus beefed up overall prize money going to the Top 20. Superstar grower Steve Daletas’ gorgeous and gargantuan 2,170-pound weigh-off champion mega-gourd obliterated a formidable field of heavyweight contenders in winning the 2018 Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Daletas is expected to return along with a host of accomplished, veteran growers to contend for the $30,000 world record prize. The Goliath grand champion mega-gourd, along with the top four heaviest weigh-off pumpkins, will be displayed at the Pumpkin Festival, October 19-20.

A longtime festival favorite, the Great Pumpkin Parade (Sat. 12 noon) is the ultimate old-fashioned, home-spun parade featuring the mighty weigh-off champion pumpkin and grower, marching bands, classic cars, fantastic floats, and a Mardi Gras-style procession of costumed ghouls, gargoyles, goblins, ghosts and assorted surprises. Saturday, 12 noon on Main Street.

The world’s largest pumpkin sculpture will be displayed at the festival. Reno-based artist Peter Hazel, whose family has ties to the very first Pumpkin Festival, is the brilliant creator of the massive mosaic sculpture that measures 12-feet long, 11-feet high and weighs 10,000 pounds. But, unlike other giant pumpkins, this one is made of steel, cement, and ceramic tile. “It’s only fitting for Half Moon Bay to have the world’s biggest mosaic pumpkin sculpture,” said Cameron Palmer, Pumpkin Festival Chairman, who hatched the idea with Hazel and commissioned the piece. “Castroville has the Giant Artichoke … New York City has the Big Apple … Half Moon Bay should have the Great Pumpkin!” Hazel is re-finishing his stunning masterpiece for festivalgoers to come see, appreciate and maybe even grab a selfie!

The coastside area is brimming with exceptional artistic talent. “Made On The Coast” (MOTC), a group of  coastside artists and a sub-committee of the Pumpkin Festival, returns with their popular one-day pop-up show, Sunday, October 20th. The centerpiece of the "Made on the Coast" Locals' Block will once again be the artists' booths, showcasing top-quality arts and crafts from local painters, photographers, potters, jewelers, fabric artists, glassblowers, furniture-makers, and more—as well as live demonstrations. On both Saturday and Sunday, the Locals' Block will also feature the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Made on the Coast Stage featuring many of the best bands on the local music scene in the parking lot of Cunha's Country Store at the corner of Main and Kelly. 

Buyers and browsers will find thousands of handcrafted items in well-stocked booths covering several city blocks. It’s an ideal opportunity to meet 275 of America’s top artists and craftmakers brought to you by presented by Pacific Fine Arts Festivals –– who will be offering great variety and price points to satisfy every budget –– on hand with their latest creations. Featuring original work in sculpture, paintings, photography, glass, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather, wood, metal and mixed media, the festival is considered among the top art shows in the country. Hand-blown glass pumpkins, beautiful vases, flatware, clocks, dishes, wall and table decorations, paperweights, stained and beveled glass, etchings, sculptures, photography, oil and watercolor paintings, beadwork, gold and silver jewelry, vests, handbags, hats, wallets, footwear, windchimes, and waterfalls will be among the thousands of items one-of-a-kind items available. "We have longtime festival favorites returning as well as many talented, new artists this year," said Kris Mason of the Pumpkin Festival Committee. "Every item you’ll see is handcrafted from beginning to end –– it’s the perfect opportunity to meet the artists that conceive and do the work."

The dynamite entertainment lineup includes non-stop live music on four stages throughout downtown by some of the Bay Area’s biggest name bands. Performing on the IDES Main Stage are The Terrie Odabi Ensemble, Featprints, Victoria George and the High Lonesome, SambaDa, Haulin Oats, Robby James and the Streets of Bakersfield, and Jim Stevens & Friends. The Ritz-Carlton South Stage at the Gazebo will feature Los Improvidors, Radiograph, Scott Cooper & The Barrelmakers, and Coast Tribe. Street musicians include Emerson & The GroWiser Band, John Clarke, Bob Culbertson, EllaHarp, and Stephen Dreyfuss. The Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Made on the Coast Stage features Drop D, Midnight Watch, and the Half Moon Bay High School Band. The Safeway Family Stage features the amazing, three-wheeling comic explosion known as Bob at Large, award-winning children’s performer Andy Z, Eva Cassel, sensational bluegrass band West Coast Ramblers, and tons of kid-friendly fun and games.

Dig in! And, while you do, help fatten the coffers of community groups while savoring mouthwatering pumpkin-infused treats like pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin churros, pumpkin-infused chili (regular and vegetarian), pumpkin pie fudge, chicken pumpkin sausages, and pumpkin seeds. Then, move onto the next course with coastal favorites like Brussels sprouts steeped in a zesty marinara sauce, and artichoke hearts steamed with an aromatic blend of garlic, olive oil, and herbs. Plus traditional favorites like Portuguese linguisa, bratwurst and Italian sausage sandwiches, chicken, pork and beef tamales, hot beef sandwiches, corn dogs, roasted turkey legs and turkey sandwiches, macaroni and cheese with pumpkin seeds and spice, garlic fries, steamy clam chowder in sour dough bread bowls, hamburgers, veggie burgers, grilled corn on the cob, garlic fries, huge baked potatoes with pumpkin currry all the trimmings, kettle corn, and caramel apples!

Enjoy tasty varietals from Half Moon Bay Winery including Coastal Fog Sauvignon Blanc and this year’s limited edition festival-label Cool Coastal Red Blend of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet, La Nebbia Sparkling Wine, mimosas, and assorted world-class, seasonal craft brews like Pumpkin Harvest Ale, refreshing Kolsch pale ale and deelish hop-happy Full Swing IPA from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company plus Kona Brewing Company’s crisp, easy-going, pale-gold Longboard Lager, hoppy, easy-drinking Hanalei Island IPA, and tropically refreshing Big Wave Golden Ale, plus Golden Road Mango Cart, a light, refreshing Wheat Ale bursting with mango flavor, and low-carb, easy drinking Michelob Ultra. For another refreshing alternative, festivalgoers can enjoy delightful Mike’s Hard Lemonade made from scratch using real fruit juice and hand selected lemons. On the spirits side, enjoy deelish artisanal cocktails – pumpkin-flavored Jack-o-tinis and traditional Bloody Mary’s from Half Moon Bay Distillery. Cool off, replenish and hydrate with a bottle of PathWater, 100% responsibly and locally sourced water in an aluminum reusable bottle. Water provider Oollee will have a re-filling station for festivalgoers to replenish their reusable bottles with clean, fresh water. Sip your favorite beverage in a beautiful, collector-item wine glass or beer mug adorned with the stylish festival logo.

Farmer Mike, the “Picasso of Pumpkin Carvers” has been a top draw and the Pumpkin Festival’s official carving expert for over 30 years. On his Pumpkin Festival stage, Farmer Mike has created whimsical faces, movie characters like MEGAMIND, a Wells Fargo stage coach, Puff the Magic Dragon, and even enshrined Pigeon Point Light House into the shell of a pumpkin. The Atlantic Giant variety of pumpkins he carves range in size from 300-pounds to more than 1,500-pounds. Most of his incredible detail work is done using a folding Buck knife and a variety of simple chisels and he loves to interact with his audience, providing carving tips and answering questions. Be sure to stop by to see Farmer Mike carving one of his masterpieces.

How often do you get to see and touch a staggeringly-massive, hard-to-believe, larger-than-life 1-ton pumpkin let alone get to have your photo taken alongside something so extraordinary? Thanks to the festival’s partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, photos with the grand champion gourd will be available. Your awesome one-of-a-kind photo will be snapped and instantly printed for a special take-home keepsake. The cost is $15 per framed 5x7 picture, with discounts for multiple copies or poses. All proceeds benefit the Cabrillo Education Foundation (CEF), a non-profit for the sole benefit of the students attending our local Coastside public schools. The photo booth is at the corner of Main and Miramontes Streets.

To launch your day with a good carbo-load, the High School Varsity Boys Basketball Team, with sponsorship support from McDonald’s Half Moon Bay, will fire up the griddle to host the traditional Pancake Breakfast complete with mouthwatering plain or pumpkin pancakes, gobs of butter and maple syrup, grilled sausage links, fresh orange juice, and plenty of hot coffee. Cost is $15 day of event. Saturday and Sunday morning from 7 to 11 a.m. in the City Hall parking lot, Main Street at Kelly Avenue.

Hundreds of ghosts, goblins, ghouls and more model their ingeniously creative Halloween attire in the Costume Contest, a popular time-honored festival tradition before walking in the big parade. The costume contest is open to all ages with individual and group divisions. Stop by the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil wing wall at the Costume Contest, take a selfie and share it on social media! Plus Costume Contest winners will receive tickets to see the movie and other prizes! Saturday, 10 a.m. in the Half Moon Bay Library parking lot, at Church and Correas Streets. 

Get up close and personal for this hilarious test of unbridled power-eating. Huge, gasping audiences gather to witness this stunning spectacle with each participant devouring and “wearing” a delicious 8” Safeway pumpkin pie heaped high with whipped cream. Aside from power-eating, panache and style go a long way with audience judges. “To me, the pie eating contest embodies the essence of Pumpkin Festival,” said Wilbur Collins, the spiritual and emotional leader of the contest organizing team for many years. “It encourages participation, it’s loads of fun, and it’s open to everyone. Seeing kids with face and hair full of gooey pumpkin pie, whipped cream and a big smile, it’s a truly sight to behold.” On both Saturday and Sunday, age 11 and under at 2 p.m, age 12 and over at 2:15 p.m. in the Family Fun Zone in the Bank of America parking lot, 620 Main Street. 

Non-competitive Pumpkin Carving will be available on Sunday in the Family Fun Zone at Bank of America, 620 Main Street. It is not a contest, there’s no judging or awards … it’s simply for fun. Pumpkins and carving knives are provided. Create your very own masterpiece anytime between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

The Great Pumpkin Run will be held on Sunday (start times from 7 to 8 a.m.) at Hatch School (on Kelly Avenue, just west of Highway 1). The Pumpkin Run has expanded to feature a new Half Marathon plus a 5k & 10k Run and Kids Fun Run, all to benefit Senior Coastsiders. Info-line: 650-712-7322 or visit www.seniorcoastsiders.org 

Sports fans have a place to kick back and catch NFL and NCAA football and MLB playoff games on a giant LED screen in the Xfinity Take 5 Lounge. It’s the perfect spot to take a break. Couch potatoes and sports fans will find the comfort and enjoyment of their own living room without ever leaving the event. The Xfinity Take 5 Lounge is a place where festivalgoers can escape the teeming crowds, relax and hang out with friends while watching their favorite sporting events on a giant LED TV, a 9' x 12' screen with picture-perfect quality. Top that off with a tasty Pumpkin Harvest Ale, refreshing Kolsch or hoppy Full Swing IPA from Half Moon Bay Brewing Company and an Italian sausage or bratwurst sandwich with zesty marinara sauce fired up by the Coastside Adult Day Health Center and you’ve got a flat-out winner.

Up and down the street, festivalgoers will be captivated by an array of amazing attractions. See the spectacular display of the top 4 pumpkins from the weigh-off. Catch massive air on Spider Jump’s super fun bungee jump in the Gazebo area. Express yourself with creative body art at the High School Art Department’s face painting booth and create your very own magic wand and super hero mask at the Coastside Child Development Center in the Bank of America lot. Bop into Kiddieland at Filbert and Main and create your own Mexican Paper Flower Crown design at the ALAS booth and then splish, splash, run, jump, bounce and slide around on the super fun waterballerz booth run by the Boys & Girls Club!

The playful, mischievious, delightfully rotund mascot will be bouncing around the Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off and various events and contests during the Pumpkin Festival. “Everyone loves Gourdy … he has been a huge hit and attracted tons of fans," said festival Chairman Cameron Palmer. “Gourdy will be rolling around the festival having fun and undoubtedly be the focal point of selfies and photos with festivalgoers all weekend,” said Palmer. Gourdy’s mascot costume is a one-of-a-kind custom design by prestigious design fabricator Carol Flemming.

Stock up on the latest and greatest official festival gear for men, women and kids including t-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, baseball shirts, trucker hats, beer mugs, shopping bags and more.

Download the free Pumpkin Festival mobile app developed by Half Moon Bay’s Phondini Partners which includes an iPad specific version and a helpful “Find Parking” feature! This fantastic app is designed to enhance the festival experience for users by providing everything from a fact sheet with key details, information on special attractions, a detailed site map keyed to specific crafts and food vendors, event and entertainment schedules, door-to-door directions, push messaging alerts, Facebook and Twitter integration, and visitor information via a full-function version of Phondini's iCoastside app. The app will be available in early October for Apple and Android devices. 

This year’s festival will feature the latest and greatest exhibits featuring Organic, Natural, Healthy and Eco-Friendly products. Festivalgoers can enjoy free product samples and gather information while experiencing first-hand how these products and organizations can help you live a better, healthier and “greener” lifestyle and be a positive catalyst for change. Sponsors include Safeway “Ingredients for Life”, Stanford Health Care, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Farm Fresh To You, and Allied Waste.

For home improvement ideas, check out product displays and chat with representatives from Renewal by Andersen, Heavenly Greens, Cutco Cutlery, Photos, Movies & More, System Pavers, Pella Windows, Leaf Filter, Gutter Dome, Surrounding Elements, The Craftsmen’s Guild, Bath Planet, and Bay Home & Window.

Win great prizes, enjoy free samples, meet the personalities and experience the latest products from festival sponsors: Safeway, Half Moon Bay Winery, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Half Moon Bay Distillery, Matagrano Distributing, Kona Brewing Company, Michelob Ultra, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, Tri Counties Bank, GEICO, Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside, San Mateo Credit Union, McDonald’s, Welk Resorts, The Pawington, Travel Spruce, Xfinity, Comcast, KPIX 5, KBCW 44 Cable 12, Metro, Alice 97.3 FM, KCBS 740 AM/106.9 FM, KBAY 94.5 FM, MIX 106.5 FM, KRTY 95.3 FM, KNBR 680, The Bone 107.7 FM, KGO 810 AM and SamTrans.

The Pumpkin Festival Committee will once again partner with Allied Waste Services, the City of Half Moon Bay and Coastal Repertory Theatre to promote and encourage maximum recycling. “Every day we talk about ways to reduce, re-use, and recycle,” said Melvin Mello Jr., Pumpkin Festival Director. “We’re on a mission to make this a Zero Waste festival –– it’s a major priority for us and something we diligently plan for and try to improve upon every year.” The Pumpkin Festival garbage and recycling operation is run by volunteers from the Coastal Repertory Theatre. In keeping with the festival’s tradition of involving community organizations, the theater troupe has been in charge of the massive garbage/recycling detail for more than 25 years, relying on the festival as one of its biggest fund-raising activities.

“Since the founding of Safeway, our philosophy and vision remain the same –– provide value and give back to the community where our customers and employees live and work. Safeway is a proud sponsor of the Art & Pumpkin Festival.” The Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee salutes Safeway for its commitment to the community and its incredible generosity in supporting the festival and participating community service groups. Safeway has been the Pumpkin Festival’s presenting sponsor since 1990 and has been an instrumental partner in the festival’s fund-raising success.

The Pumpkin Festival was created by the newly formed Main Street Beautification Committee in 1971 as a means for restoring historic downtown Half Moon Bay. That first year, buildings were painted, trees were planted and a legend was born. Since then, the festival has helped raise several million dollars for civic projects and community service organizations throughout the coastside. 

There will be parking at the south end of Main Street at Metzgar, Half Moon Bay High School (Main St. just north of Hwy. 92), Our Lady of the Pillar Church and the Community Center/Shoreline Station complex, both located on Kelly Avenue just east of Highway 1. Many parking lots are operated by local non-profit groups who charge a nominal parking fee. There is also very limited free parking on several side streets. Download the Pumpkin Festival mobile app for help in finding parking.

Bicycle parking is available behind the Bike Works at 520 Kelly Avenue near Highway 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Suggested donation is $5 per bicycle. The HEAL Project and Sea Hugger are partnering to manage the "Kickstand" Bicycle Parking as a fundraiser. More than 4,000 students each year learn where their food comes from and why it matters through The HEAL Project's educational programs. Sea Hugger is a Half Moon Bay-based nonprofit organization working to combat marine plastic pollution.

Ride SamTrans bus service to the festival – you’re dropped off just steps from the festival!

There will be specially marked accessible parking on Purissima Street between Correas Street and Kelly Avenue.

Main Street will be closed to traffic from Mill Street south to Monte Vista Lane throughout festival weekend. Southbound Main Street will not be accessible from Highway 92 beginning at approximately 7 AM on Saturday. Main Street will re-open at approximately 9 PM on Sunday. Departing the festival, Highway 92 eastbound will not be accessible from Main Street (either from the north or the south). The only way to go eastbound on Highway 92 is from Highway 1. 

Festival first aid and lost and found is located in the Small Hall on the IDES Grounds, the main food court and music stage area in the center of the festival.

The Community United Methodist Church will be hosting the “Rest Your Wear Soles” Diaper Changing/Rest Area. The church is located at the corner of Miramontes and Johnston Streets, one block east of Main Street.

The City of Half Moon Bay and San Mateo County Sheriffs Department will be enforcing the ordinance prohibiting pets on the festival grounds. For the safety, comfort, and courtesy of your pets and festival-goers, please leave your pets at home. Large crowds, warm weather, food preparation and consumption make it a very stressful and dangerous environment for pets.

The free-admission festival will be held on October 19-20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street between Miramontes and Spruce Streets in Half Moon Bay. To get to Half Moon Bay, take 101 or 280 to Highways 92 or 84 west. You can also get to Half Moon Bay via Highway 1 from both north and south.  

For festival information, call the Info-Line at 650-726-9652, visit the festival website at visit http://pumpkinfest.miramarevents.com, “like” our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/HalfMoonBayPumpkinFestival or follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/HMBPumpkinFest/ and Instagram https://instagram.com/hmbpumpkinfest