GOODLY GOURDS: Just about every town, even the major urban centers, rustles up a pumpkin festival in the days leading up to Halloween. But few burgs are famous for not simply their fests but the size of the gourds that roll in. Half Moon Bay definitely is one such famous spot -- the cable travel shows line up to capture these orange and yellow behemoths, year after year -- but the fame isn't simply because of the huge pumpkins; the party has loads of art and food and general small-town sweetness. And it is set to carve out an October weekend on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14.
ORANGE OVER-SIZED: Let's get first to the stars of the Half Moon Bay bash, those gourds that tip the dial at over a thousand pounds. They're one of the symbols of the 42-year-old fest, and this year the 39th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off will again draw the gaping crowds. What will those crowds see? Gourds that not only pass the thousand-pound mark but reach for 2,000; last year's winner was over 1,700 pounds. Think about picking out the perfect two-pounder at your local patch and how easy it is to toss in the backseat; now think of loading a 1,700-pound pumpkin onto a truck for the trip to Half Moon Bay. By the by? The owner of the winning pumpkin gets six bucks for every pound. That's no small potatoes. Er. Pumpkins. Note that the weigh-ins happen ahead of the fest, on Monday, Oct. 8.
OTHER STUFF: Wines, crafts, and art for sale are part of the venerable festival. Plus, Half Moon Bay in mid-October? Kind of perfection itself.