If the shrimp-infatuated Bubba from Forrest Gump had grown up, not in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, but in Half Moon Bay, California, he might have extolled the virtues of a different food to his new buddy Forrest. We imagine the following monologue, a revision to the original, uttered first by actor Mykelti Williamson, and then, naturally, imitated constantly, at least for a year or two, with varying degrees of success by coworkers, classmates, and Saturday Night Live cast members: “Anyway, like I was sayin', pumpkin is the fruit of the vine.You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. Dey's uh, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin caramel apples, and chicken pumpkin sausages. That — that's about it.”
Doesn't sound quite right, does it? The world-renowned Half Moon Bay Art + Pumpkin Festival has only been around for 39 years. Had he hailed from California, Bubba would have just missed it. This year's bash is happening October 17-18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The pumpkin will get its deserved due. Visitors may have pictures snapped at the giant pumpkin weigh-off, enter the pie-eating contest, and browse stalls pushing iffy pumpkin-themed art. Other pleasures await as well — like hilarious cover bands, spectacular people-watching, and food. Macaroni and cheese with pumpkin seeds? Yes. Warm pretzels with pumpkin sauce? Definitely. Yet you won't by any means be limited to whatever guises the iconic orange globe can assume. Look out for local artichokes as well as Highway 1-ified fair classics — linguiça sausage, hot beef sandwiches, corn dogs, fried calamari, tamales, garlic fries, clam chowder in bread bowls, nachos, hamburgers, grilled corn, well-dressed baked potatoes, and — most assuredly — massive kingly roast turkey legs worthy of Henry VIII's pudgy palm.