A famous Bay Area festival that brings thousands of visitors to Half Moon Bay every fall has been canceled for a second straight year due to coronavirus. The organizers of the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival were forced to call off the event this week after the city council in Half Moon Bay unanimously voted not to issue the special event permit needed for it to take place on October 16th. However, the ‘Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off’ will still happen as scheduled on October 11th.
The Festival had already been scaled way back from previous years, becoming a one-day "mini fest," but city officials apparently still thought it was too risky to the public. According to KTVU, Mayor Robert Brownstone said during the vote that he looks forward to the festival every year. “It’s a sad decision. I, in good faith, can’t vote to have this event if I can’t feel like we can really ensure the safety of all the attendees,” said Brownstone.
The event is not just about the visitors, it also helps serve as a vital part of the fundraising efforts for nonprofits around Half Moon Bay. So far, there are no plans to announce a virtual portion of the event like organizers were able to pull off last year when they moved some of the art events to a virtual space. "We were able to save the day last year but we're not in a position to do that this year unless we get another benefactor that really pitches in," president of the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee Cameron Palmer told KPIX.
“It’s a horrible shame that we must be responsible and, unfortunately, the nonprofits are going to suffer for it,” Half Moon Bay City Councilmember Harvey Rarback told the San Mateo Daily Journal. He says trying to pull off a scaled-down version could make things worse. “This is like the worst of all possible worlds. You have more people in a smaller area. The potential for a super spreader event is there,” said Rarback.