The (usually) annual Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival is canceled this year, but that won’t stop the time-honored World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, scheduled for Monday at the I.D.E.S. grounds on Main Street in Half Moon Bay.
In its 48th year, the competition has increased its prize to $9 per pound for the 2021 champion and added a $30,000 award to anyone who breaks the current world record for largest pumpkin.
The weigh-off, open to the public, is set to begin at 7 a.m. and will also be streamed live on Facebook. Officials from the San Mateo County Department of Agriculture Office of Weights and Measures and the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth will oversee the weighing with an official 5-ton, digital scale.
Other $1,000 prizes will be awarded to the grower of the most beautiful pumpkin and the biggest California and Coastside pumpkins.
Last year’s champion, Travis Gienger, defeated the competition with a 2,350-pound pumpkin that was also named the heaviest pumpkin in North America in 2020.
The weigh-off will take place this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has canceled the traditional pumpkin festival for the last two years. Last year’s weigh-off was moved to the more remote Long Branch Farms on Verde Road, and was open only to participants and media.
Organizer Tim Beeman wrote in a press release that this year’s event will adhere to all local safety restrictions. The California Department of Public Health
recommends requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for any outdoor event with
more than 10,000 attendees.
It’s not clear how many
will be in attendance on Monday, but, traditionally, the event draws fewer than 10,000. Organizers are not planning to ask for vaccination or testing proof. Face coverings continue to be optional outdoors. r