Festival Fare Celebrates the Autumn Harvest With Pumpkin Anything and Everything Plus Fabulous Coastside Bounty
There’s no better place to celebrate (and eat) the autumn harvest than at Half Moon Bay’s Art & Pumpkin Festival. This year marks the 47th anniversary of this world-famous event and its rich agricultural heritage, nestled between the sea and the fertile fields with swaths of brilliant orange pumpkins on the San Mateo County Coastside.
At this year’s festival, October 14-15, more than 30 nonprofit groups will feed the hungry hordes, serving up delectable homestyle dishes, many with tributes to the local harvests of artichokes, Brussels sprouts and seafood that showcase the region’s bounty while raising critical funds for their worthwhile causes.
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, traditional kid-friendly cotton candy and candy leis by the Girl Scouts or fresh popcorn from Seacrest School.
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 at Mac Dutra Park.
The Beautification Committee will be dishing up slices of the tastiest pumpkin pie on the planet layered with a healthy dose of whipped cream and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top (optional).
Enjoy your pie a la mode with a scoop of wickedly rich pumpkin ice cream from the Episcopal Church booth.
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.
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 sticky buns.
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—pumpkin smoothies, blended by Half Moon Bay High School Water Polo, warm cinnamon and pumpkin-spice churros from the High School Athletic Trainers program and warm pretzels with your choice of pumpkin dipping sauce, cheese or mustard from Holy Family Children’s Center.
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 plus refreshingly sweet pumpkin pie soda … always big crowd-pleasers.
There’s more than just coastal food.
For something hearty, grab one of the savory gourmet sausages from the Half Moon Bay Vaulters 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, the Boys and Girls Club Teen Centers beef and chicken tacos with fresh salsa, and the Coastside Lutheran Church’s nachos smothered with cheese and spiced up with jalapeños or their bowl of zesty chili or, yep, their spectacular pumpkin-infused chili.
Cool off with a root beer float from by the Volunteer Fire Department.
For a creative, pumpkin-infused treat, enjoy Mariner’s Church Coastside version of macaroni and cheese—flavored with pumpkin spices and topped with pumpkin seeds.
Enjoy mouthwatering Portuguese linguisa, jumbo hot dogs, Italian sausages and chicken pumpkin 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 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.