GOURDS ON THE GO: If you've ever strolled up or down Ocean Avenue, the main shop- and eatery-lined thoroughfare of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you know it has a distinct to-the-ocean slope. Call the slope upward, or downward, depending on which way you're walking, but call it noticeable: Your calves will feel it after a few blocks. But what beautiful blocks, the kind of blocks the cottage-filled burg is known for, with wee houses and tile-topped buildings filling one's view. And if one happens to be strolling Ocean Avenue on the first day of October in 2016, another view might dominate: pumpkins. Let us add, quite quickly, that these won't be stationary pumpkins, the kind you might find sitting around a patch. No sirree, these gourds'll be on the move, rolling along with the assistance of a bevy of cheerful competitors, between Santa Rita and Junipero Streets along Ocean. In other words, the pumpkins in competition won't be headed alllll the way down to the surf, but rather will go for glory over a few blocks.
THIS CHARMER OF AN EVENT... is heading into its second annual outing, and is now "an official event of Carmel-by-the-Sea's month-long birthday party..." which runs for all of October. The city, in fact, is enjoying its centennial, so ponder visiting multiple to-dos, like the yearly film festival or the celebration parade on Saturday, Oct. 29. But if you want to eye the pumpkins tumbling down Ocean Avenue on a fine fall Saturday, best be there on Oct. 1 in the early afternoon. Like the city itself, the Pumpkin Rolling Contest is a tad quirky, highly visual, and adorable as all get-out. Cheer on the orange-y symbols of autumn in one of California's most autumn-esque towns.