Apparently, orange is the new black this year, and there is no better time to celebrate all things trendy than in Half Moon Bay.
The region is in its high-harvest season for one of its most famous bounties: pumpkins!
Monday, pumpkin season kicks off at 7 a.m. at the IDES Grounds on Main Street in downtown Half Moon Bay with the 38th annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Here, veteran growers will contend for the title, the $5,000 world-record prize and $20,000 in additional prize money. In a pay-by-the-pound system, the winner will take home a $6 per pound for the champion mega-pumpkin. Defending champion Ron Root of Citrus Heights won last year’s weigh-off with a 1,535-pound Atlantic Giant. The grand champion mega-gourd will be on display at the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Main Street.
Set to run next weekend, the 41st annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is family-friendly, fun and so popular that spending the night is not a bad idea. The only thing not fun about it is the traffic; Half Moon Bay is only accessible by car — either via scenic U.S. Highway 1 or via state Route 92, which connects to Interstate 280. With free festival admission, it is a great excuse to splurge on a hotel room at one of the many inns or hotels in the area. For a complete list of hotels, visit www.visithalfmoonbay.org.
This year, the festival will include a lineup of rustic pumpkin patches that attendees can visit and pick your own pumpkin, harvest-inspired crafts, home-style foods, expert pumpkin carvers, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a haunted house, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin carving, costume contests, a pancake breakfast, 5- and 10-kilometer runs, and three stages of live music.
New this year is the iPumpkin, the official mobile application of the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. Users of iPhones and iPads can download the application for free.
Also new this year, there will be a special hospitality station hosted by the Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes St.
As fun as the festival is, visiting Half Moon Bay between now and Thanksgiving is a great way to enjoy local harvest — without the crowds.
Visit a hand-blown art glass-pumpkin patch
More than a thousand glistening glass pumpkins will be available to view and purchase at the third annual Glass Pumpkin Patch Showcase and Sale presented by Half Moon Bay Art Glass. The event is happening today and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at La Nebbia Winery in Half Moon Bay. For more information, visit www.hmbartglass.com.
A pumpkin spa treatment
The award-winning spa at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is offering spa enthusiasts a deal during October: 25 percent off the signature Half Moon Bay facial (normally $245), a treatment that features a nourishing pumpkin enzyme mask and is a 100 percent natural, plant-based product. For more information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/HalfMoonBay/Spa.