A few centuries ago, residents of Ireland carved turnips into intriguing
little shapes and faces, but turnips were small and expensive. When the
Pilgrims stepped ashore in this country, they were introduced to
pumpkins by the Native Americans, and soon learned that pumpkins carved
well, cooked better, and tasted best. It took awhile, but eventually
nutritionists discovered that the big veggie offered high quantities of
beta-carotene, so eating pumpkin pie today at our traditional
Thanksgiving dinners is not only not sinful, but healthy (sort of).
To celebrate the tasty vegetable, plan a trip to the Half Moon Bay Art
& Pumpkin Festival in central California the weekend of October
14-15. The harvest fest runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, and
admission is free. Run by the nonprofit Half Moon Bay Beautification
Committee, the festival includes a fabulous parade, food galore, fun
games and a variety of entertainment, not the least of which is the
Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-off. Featuring gargantuan orbs,
some tipping the scales at more than 1,000 pounds, the contest promises
$20,000 in prize money.
Of course, a pumpkin fest wouldn’t be festive without an
old-fashioned pie-eating contest, a Halloween costume contest, a haunted
house to crawl around in and a Jack-o-Lantern carving contest. And, in
this part of the state, pumpkin may be king for a day or a month, but it
has some challenging competitors from surrounding farmlands:
artichokes, brussel sprouts and mushrooms are all offered in a variety
of recipes, topped off by the famous wines of the area. So come early,
come hungry and stay late. Along the way, you might even consider
stopping at one of several pick-your-own-pumpkin patches.
Kids of all ages will enjoy this colorful and creative stopover.
For more information, go to http://www.miramarevents.com.