Annual Pilgrimage to Pumpkin Festival for Unique Culinary Creations
Got pumpkin chili? We do, both regular and vegetarian…come enjoy some along with so much more delectably delicious festival fare!
When the muted gray-green hills and fields around Half Moon Bay come alive with swaths of brilliant orange pumpkins, it’s a reminder of the Coastside’s rich agricultural heritage … and of the upcoming Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival.
This year’s 50th Pumpkin Festival, held October 16-17, will celebrate the local agricultural bounty with dozens of community organizations feeding the hungry hordes a plenitude of pumpkin delights and delectable homestyle dishes, many with tributes to the local harvests of artichokes, Brussels sprouts and seafood while raising critical funds for their worthwhile causes.
The festival is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. along historic Main Street. Admission is free.
True to its title as World Pumpkin Capital, Half Moon Bay gives the beloved gourd a starring role in its festival fare.
Dedicated early birds can beat the traffic and start the day off right with a hearty stack of Half Moon Bay’s famous pumpkin pancakes (or regular pancakes) served with a smile by the exceptional student/athletes on the HMB High School Basketball Team. Top it off with sausage, fresh orange juice, and coffee, and you have the makings of a winning breakfast. They start serving at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday in the City Hall lot at Main and Kelly.
Pumpkin chili, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and pumpkin ale are just a few of the harvest-inspired treats you'll find at the festival
Mariners Church sponsors the popular Mac 'n Cheese booth benefitting children/youth camp and humanitarian projects; below is their famous mac 'n cheese topped with pumpkin spices and pumpkin seeds
Lions Club volunteers keep their grill fired up all weekend
The Beautification Committee will be dishing up slices of the tastiest pumpkin pie on the planet layered with a healthy dose of whipped cream.
Enjoy your pie a la mode with a scoop of wickedly rich pumpkin ice cream from the Episcopal Church booth.
The local 4-H club is renown for their melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin rolls. The tangy creme-filled confections are such a big hit, the young people also sell the recipe.
AAUW will be serving its delicious, all-natural pumpkin bread, by the slice or loaf, using the revered “Grandma” recipe, and their heavenly, sweet pumpkin muffins and coffee.
Fill up on some sinfully rich pumpkin cheesecake whipped up by the San Mateo County Sheriff Explorers or the monster 8” pumpkin cookies and tasty roasted pumpkin seeds baked by the good folks from Coastside Land Trust.
Meet the friendly folks at Pilarcitos Rebekah Lodge #286 and sink your teeth into their seriously delicious Pumpkin Pie Fudge. Help raise money for local Scholarships while enjoying a delicious treat at the same time!
Slurp and gobble up more pumpkin incarnations—Coastside Lutheran Church’s zesty vegetarian and regular chili or, yep, their spectacular pumpkin-infused chili. pumpkin smoothies, blended by Half Moon Bay High School Water Polo and warm cinnamon and pumpkin-spice churros from the High School Athletic Trainers program.
Not to be outshone by the preponderance of pumpkin treats, several prominent coastside crops will be featured.
The Knights of Columbus take pride in crusading for the much maligned Brussels sprout and more beloved artichoke, two of the most prolific Coastside crops. Cooked in a zesty marinara sauce, the sprouts have a flavorful taste that make converts out of everyone who tries them. After removing the leaves and prickly hairs, the artichokes are steamed leaving just the delicate hearts which are then sauteed in an aromatic blend of garlic, olive oil and herbs. Plus there are the gourmet-good green beans!
Honoring the area’s rich maritime history, Half Moon Bay Rotary Club will be selling chunky clam chowder in crunchy sourdough bread bowls … always a big crowd-pleaser.
There’s more than just coastal food.
Don’t miss the to-die-for garlic fries drizzled with olive oil, minced garlic and parsley by the Boy Scouts, tasty kettle corn from the Half Moon Bay High School Lady Cougar Basketball team, sweet and scrumptious caramel apples by Coastside Children’s Programs, and fresh popcorn from Seacrest School.
For something hearty, grab one of the grilled gourmet sausages from Big Wave or a corn dog from the Girls Softball Club.
High School Music Boosters will fill you up with their huge baked potatoes with all the trimmings—butter, sour cream, grated parmesan cheese, green onions, chives, bacon bits … and pumpkin curry for those looking to spice things up.
Hungry for some Mex? Try the Cougar Boosters super delicious chicken, beef and pork tamales with a bold mole sauce.
For more creative, pumpkin-infused comfort food, enjoy Mariner’s Church Coastside version of macaroni and cheese—flavored with pumpkin spices and topped with pumpkin seeds.
Cool off with a root beer float from by the Volunteer Fire Department.
Enjoy mouthwatering Portuguese linguisa, jumbo hot dogs and Italian sausages grilled by the Beautification Committee or the popular hot beef sandwiches on a soft roll by IDES Society.
Sink your teeth into a roasted turkey leg marinated in a special soy and red wine sauce or a grilled turkey sandwich on a hoagie roll by the Methodist Church.
The Lions Club will be firing up the grill all weekend for their tasty hamburgers, cheeseburgers, veggie burgers and fresh, sweet buttery corn-on-the-cob.
The gourmands from the Coastside Adult Day Health Center dress their Italian and Polish sausage sandwiches up with a zesty marinara sauce, taking “savory” sausages to a whole new level.