World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California

We’ve been going to the Half Moon Bay World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off for years now – it’s a lot of fun! The pumpkins get bigger every year – and so do the crowds. When we first started coming to the Pumpkin Weigh-Off, it had more of a small-town feeling. Now it’s grown into quite an event, drawing hundreds of people, including the press, and featuring live entertainment. Last year, Lacey Bryant (Pumpkin Carver extraordinaire) carved an amazing Giant Pumpkin.
The Pumpkin Weigh-Off is held every October at the I.D.E.S. Grounds on Main Street in downtown Half Moon Bay, usually the week before the annual world-famous Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival (which takes place prior to Halloween). This year, the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off will be held on Monday, October 12, 2009 (Columbus Day – a federal holiday) from 7am-10:30am.

Bring your kids along to this FUN event – it will keep them occupied for hours! And don’t forget your pets. Many kids and pets even dress up in costume – check out the Top 10+ Halloween Costumes for Adults, Kids and Pets this year.

Pumpkin growers – and their trucks filled with giant pumpkins and oversizedgourds – usually start lining the streets behind the I.D.E.S.Grounds by 7am. It’s is a fun place to hang out and pumpkin-watch while the giant pumpkins are fitted with special harnesses and loaded onto forklifts, prior to being weighed in. You won’t believe the size of some of these pumpkins!

Sometimes we go early (to beat the traffic into Half Moon Bay) and have coffee and breakfast before the pumpkins are weighed in. We like the Moonside Bakery & Cafe (located on Main, just down the street from the I.D.E.S. Grounds) or the Half Moon Bay Coffee Company (on the corner of Stone Pine Road and Main Street, just south of Hwy 92). Complimentary coffee, juice and bagels have been available at the event over the last several years. Visitors can also purchase official Half Moon Bay Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off festival gear.

By about 9am, the farmers are out in full force. We like talking to them about their prized pumpkins and finding out what methods they use to get them to grow so big. Everyone is friendly and open about their “pumpkin-growing secrets” – they’ll even pose in front of their giant pumpkins if you want to take pictures. Past winners have included some very creative pumpkins, including Farmer John’s beautiful Square Pumpkins and Giant Dice Pumpkins.

By 10am, the front of the I.D.E.S. grounds (where the actual pumpkin weigh-in takes place) are packed with spectators waiting to see who will take the top prizes. Last year, Thad Starr (from Oregon) took Top Prize (his second year in a row). His winning pumpkin (middle picture above) tipped the scales at an impressive 1,528 pounds – four pounds more than his winning pumpkin in 2007… and breaking the 2006 record by over 300 pounds!

Good Luck to all the pumpkin growers who are participating in this year’s Half Moon Bay World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. We’ll see you there!

Have any of you attended this event before? Tell us what you think of it.

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