Half Moon Bay continues its festivities despite challenges from the pandemic

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Jordan Dooley

4-C’s Pumpkin Farm implements new safety measures to remain open for the community.

Event cancelations due to COVID-19 caused Half Moon Bay’s funding to take a big hit. Nevertheless, the community pushed forward and continued to do its best to put on its annual events.  

Half Moon Bay has always been a place for people to celebrate the fall season. People pour into the area, visiting the pumpkin patches, and participating in other activities. These activities have helped evoke a sense of joy within the community for years.  

“I’ve been doing this for 33 years, and I absolutely love it,” said Elizabeth Hudgins, a manager at 4-c’s Pumpkin Farm. “It is so refreshing to be aggregated here, especially because you can just see how happy people are, so it makes me happy.”

Families are itching to get out and do something fun and traditional this time of year. Having fun events and things to do is very significant for the stability of the community. 

However, in early August, many events had to be done virtually because necessary safety measures had to be taken due to COVID-19. With 10,961 cases and 157 deaths in San Mateo County, Half Moon Bay is trying their best to make our new lifestyle feel normal. The first significant impact COVID-19 left on the city and head county officials was on its fall festivities.

With the tight restrictions resulting from the pandemic, numerous events in Half Moon Bay had to be canceled. Cancelations like the 2020 Pumpkin Festival left non-profit organizations with minimal fundraising opportunities for the year. Thus, Half Moon Bay lost a significant amount of funding for non-profit organizations. 

“That was their funding for the year, and it’s gone […] A huge fundraiser for all the non-profits on the coast side, including the softball team, girl scouts, and the boy’s and girl’s club,” Lisel Taner, a swim teacher in Half Moon Bay said. 

With 50 successful years of the Pumpkin Festival, this monumental anniversary was quite abnormal because of this unforeseen pandemic. 

Despite this, Half Moon Bay did its best to adapt for upcoming events. To avoid more cancelations, the community came up with plans to create a safe environment for festivities.  

All events are now set in strict periodicals to save this year’s celebrations, with attendees required to social distance, sanitize, and wear face coverings. There are also online sign-ups for events to keep the crowds down. 

With new and safe festivities put in place, people are now encouraged to enjoy the fall season. Local businesses are conducting several activities for families and friends, including corn mazes, petting zoos, and pumpkin patches. With these activities, families can spend quality time together partake in the holiday spirit in a safer environment.

For those unwilling to go to these events, Half Moon Bay has created virtual activities as well. Online events like live-streamed pumpkin weigh-offs have been implemented so people can enjoy from the safety of their homes.  

On top of these, Half Moon Bay has put together extra activities for the community as well. On Oct. 30, for example, the CuriOdyssey glowing night-harvest has been created because of these unusual circumstances. The Glowing Harvest festival is a pumpkin carving event, where you can partake in the lighting ceremony. 

Half Moon Bay has slowly started to open other aspects of the community up to the public as well. In addition to the popular pumpkin patches, neighborhood beaches have recently been reopened. These reopenings have been good for many people’s mental health, as they can take part in more safe activities outside of their homes. 

Rachel Ballard, a Half Moon Bay resident, is happy about these reopenings. “When it comes to mental health, I think one of the biggest bummers for me is not being able to travel, so having the beaches to go to has been a great escape from time to time,” Ballard said.

Overall, Half Moon Bay has faced adversity due to the pandemic. Despite this, they continue to push forward and keep the community close and spirited during this time.  

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