Samantha Weigel/Daily Journal
Heather, Olivia and Samuel Whitfield wandered upon Doug Brown’s glass pumpkins while spending the day in Half Moon Bay.
The lush green fields along State Route 92 are lit up in October by thousands of vibrant orange pumpkins in Half Moon Bay. Many people visit the coast to scour various pumpkin patches in search of their perfect pick.
The sleepy coastal town is considered the pumpkin capital of the world and springs to life as tens of thousands of people travel to attend the annual Art and Pumpkin Festival on Main Street this weekend.
Festival goers can enjoy music, food and drinks while gawking at the enormous pumpkins and the 1,985-pound winner of this year’s Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. People will find ceramic, metal, glass and painted renditions of pumpkins to add to their holiday decor.
Artists come to show off their works and join in celebrating the fall season. Yet local artists are often lost in the crowd by the hundreds of out-of-state vendors. But this year, a block has been set aside to highlight “Made on the Coast.”
“I am really pleased that the festival promoters have created the space known as “Made on the Coast” for local artists. This opportunity gives some of the local coastal artists a chance to show off their work to festival goers,” said Doug Brown, a Half Moon Bay glass artist.
Brown owns Half Moon Bay Art Glass, a small studio cozied up at La Nebbia Winery on State Route 92. Unlike artists who work in other mediums, running a glass studio requires high overhead costs, particularly electric bills that reach into the thousands every month, Brown said. Adapting from running a production-based glass studio to turning his experience toward teaching allows Brown to provide people with opportunities to make their own art.
“I have taught over 1,000 students in the last year at the shop,” Brown said. “I never thought it would be so much fun showing people what I do every day. It’s great!”
Last weekend, Brown put on his annual glass pumpkin patch where he places his glass pumpkins, which range from 2 inches to a foot and a half in size, in the grass behind the winery.
Weekends outside the bustling festival still provide family-oriented activities and draw people to spend a fall day on the coast.
Heather Whitfield and her family frequent the coast during the holidays to pick pumpkins which they use to then make bread and roast seeds.
“We really like coming to Half Moon Bay because we love going to the pumpkin patch. It has a nice fall feel and we like being able to go to the beach after the pumpkin patch which is kind of a unique thing,” Whitfield said.
This year, she brought her children and two of their friends to Half Moon Bay to venture into the corn maze.
Olivia Whitfield, 16, was excited about conquering the maze and walking away with a special prize. A mischievous minotaur lingers in the maze and, when caught, the captor brings home a golden pumpkin, Olivia Whitfield said.
The Whitfields and friends happened upon Brown’s glass pumpkins and were impressed by their unique colors and the glimmering shine an ordinary pumpkin couldn’t mimic.
Evelyn Shrmiento and her eight family members came from San Francisco and the East Bay to partake in the fall-time activities the coast has to offer. They endured traffic and a long line to go for a hayride, pick pumpkins and go wine tasting.
“It’s worth it because of the good weather,” Shrmiento said. “It turned out to be very beautiful, it’s perfect.”
Locals consider October to be Half Moon Bay’s summer and the clear blue sky, rare in the foggy town, is sure to bring more visitors during the weekends. Traffic and wait times are expected to be long, so Brown recommends starting the drive early.
For more information about the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival visit www.halfmoonbay.com/festivals. For more information about “Made on the Coast” visit www.madeonthecoastlocalshmbpumpkinfest.com. For more information about Half Moon Bay Art Glass or to sign up for classes visit www.halfmoonbayartglass.com.