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Fall festivities in Half Moon Bay

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Less than an hour’s drive south from San Francisco on Highway 1 along the San Mateo coast, the seaside burg of Half Moon Bay offers myriad attractions for fall travel and, especially, for pumpkin fans. Pack a camera and a windbreaker and enjoy the scenic route through Pacifica, Montara, Moss Beach and El Granada to this coastside gem.

The Third Annual Hand-Blown Art Glass Pumpkin Patch, October 8-10, 10 AM - 5 PM, invites visitors and locals alike to peruse hundreds of colorful glass pumpkins created by local artist Douglass C. Brown. Each pumpkin is one of a kind and available for purchase, so come early to have the pick of the patch. For the first time this year, the first 50 guests on each day will receive a free gift. La Nebbia Winery, 12341 San Mateo Road on Hwy 92, (650) 283-5626.

The 39th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off on October 10, 7AM - 11 AM, draws pumpkin growers and their colossal pumpkins from California, Oregon and Washington to vie for the coveted title of heaviest pumpkin. Last year, Ron Root's giant 1,535-pound Atlantic Giant crushed the formidable field of sixty heavyweight growers under the worldwide media spotlight, taking home the coveted title and $10,210 in prize money (calculated at $6 per pound plus another $1,000 special prize for the biggest pumpkin from California). This year, he'll compete to defend his title. A special $500 prize will be awarded to the "most beautiful pumpkin" as judged by the audience based on color, shape and size. IDES Grounds, 735 Main Street, (650) 726-9652.

On October and 15, the 41st Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival celebrates its bountiful fall harvest with a stellar lineup of rustic pumpkin patches, harvest-inspired crafts, home-style foods, expert pumpkin carvers, the Great Pumpkin Parade, a bone-chilling haunted house, a titanic weigh-off of champion pumpkins, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin carving, costume contests, a pancake breakfast, a five & 10K run/walk and three stages of blockbuster entertainment. Admission is free. Main Street, (650) 726-9652.

For micro-brew aficionados, the, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will release their famous Mavericks® Pumpkin Harvest Ale this October. Handcrafted on site, this unique beer is available on tap at the restaurant and at the Pumpkin Festival. 390 Capistrano Avenue, Princeton-By-The-Sea, (650) 728-BREW.

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