Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

On Sunday October 16th 2005, I spent most of the day either at the Art & Pumpkin Festival or sitting in traffic en route to Half Moon Bay for the festival. Despite all the traffic, the festival was worth it.

And others apparently also knew this fact: it was packed, much more so than any other festival I've been to.

Whenever I saw a piece of artwork that really impressed me (or I otherwise thought was neat), I took a photograph of it. These pictures are available. View the pictures now, before reading onward. After this paragraph all I have to discuss are a random disorganized selection of things that weren't worthy of (or weren't appropriate for) pictures.

Taking highway 92 there was stupid. I think it took me close to two hours to get there from Berkeley. But one nice effect of it was that I got to drive by the loads and loads of pumpkin farms just south of Half Moon Bay.

The pumpkin that won the heaviest pumpkin contest was enormous, weighting 1,229 pounds and was probably over a meter in diameter. They let kids sit on it. On one hand, this seems to disrespect it. On the other hand, it's just a pumpkin. I wonder what they do with it at the end of the year when there are no longer any fairs with pumpkin-weighing contests.

I stuck with the pumpkin theme for all the food I bought throughout the afternoon. Started with an okay chicken pumpkin sausage, which was disappointing because it didn't have much distinctive pumpkin flavor. Then split a very good pumpkin cheesecake with some friends: very rich and fairly light, with a subtle pumpkin flavor in the cheesecake itself and a much denser flavor in the few stripes that segmented the cake. Also split some pumpkin ice cream which was even better; it was only split because I couldn't finish it because it was so rich. Bought a pumpkin muffin for breakfast the next morning. Humongous and moist, it didn't need any butter. I think I'll cook pumpkin muffins or bread sometime soon; they're good! I missed only a few pumpkin containing items, including the most obvious: pumpkin pie. (I figured I could get that anywhere.)

Downtown Half Moon Bay is nice; Main Street is long, only moderately packed with businesses, and has wide sidewalks, all of which remind me a bit of Solano Avenue in Berkeley.

As a promotion, a cruise ship company parked a truck just off main street that included a miniature cruise ship. They had tours of the ship, showing off buffets and shuffleboard and all that kind of stuff that people do on cruise ships. (I didn't take a tour. But it was an impressively large cruise-ship-like truck and relatively funny to see people walking up the gangplank.)

One street performer swallowed fire.

I should emphasize again how much art there was. Lots and lots! Some quite good. The music -at least the bands I heard- weren't to my tastes. If it were slightly less crowded and had better music, it might have been a better festival than my current Bay Area gold standard, North Berkeley Spice of Life. (The Pumpkin festival had comparable food selection and more and better artwork, although certainly smaller wine tastings and beer gardens (and more crowds and much worse music).)

Near the end of the festival we tried to stop by the haunted house, but it was already closed.

After the festival and parting with my friends, I decided to avoid traffic and simply sat around and read (for pleasure). When it got cold, I moved into the car and continued. By the time I started driving back, the pumpkin festival had been over for at least two hours. Yet it still took me over an hour to return to Berkeley, despite using highway one (which I thought would be less crowded than 92).

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