Giant gourds and Oktoberfest pours: 15 events we're excited about this autumn
Fall always has big shoes to fill. Coming in on the heels of a season synonymous with sunshine, vacations and outdoor activities, autumn signals the start of the school year and days that are increasingly shorter and colder.
But longtime locals know fall is one of the best times of year on the Peninsula, filled with clear, warm days and the intermingling of end-of-summer traditions with autumn ones. Here are 15 autumn events we’re looking forward to in 2022, from the return of the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival to the bevy of fall food events around the 650.
Redwood City Oktoberfest Sept. 21-25: Get a taste of Munich's Oktoberfest without leaving the Peninsula by heading to Redwood City for its eighth annual celebration. With bench seating in an 1,100-square-foot tent mirroring the traditional beer tents in Munich, the festival features cold beer, pretzels, bratwurst and other German fare, plus traditional folk music, dancing and a stein-holding competition.
Redwood City Oktoberfest Sept. 21-25 at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sept. 21-22, 5-10 p.m. Sept. 23, noon to 4 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Sept. 24 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Sept 25. Ticket prices range from $10-$17 for all ages and $16-$27 for people 21 and over, plus VIP six-person table seatings for $255.
San Mateo Firefighters' Association's Chili Cook Off Sept. 24: The 13th annual Chili Cook Off returns to Central Park in San Mateo. Taste as many chili entries as you want and get a bowl of your favorite along with cold beer. Listen to live music and peruse the car show while you're there. All proceeds from the event benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
San Mateo Firefighters' Association's Chili Cook Off Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Central Park, 50 E 5th Ave., San Mateo. Entry is $10/person.
Pacific Coast Fog Fest Sept. 24-25: Ironically, the 35th annual Pacific Coast Fog Fest takes place during one of the most fog-free times of year on the Coastside. The festivities kick off with a parade and marching band competition Saturday, with lots of food offerings, arts and craft vendors, kids' activities and live music throughout the weekend.
Pacific Coast Fog Fest Sept. 24-25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Palmetto Avenue in Pacifica. Admission is free.
Harvest History Festival Sept. 24: Mountain View's Heritage Park hosts this celebration of Silicon Valley's agricultural history as "The Valley of Heart's Delight." Tour the park's gardens while listening to live music by the Stragglyrs and sample harvested produce. Tours of the historic Immigrant House, garden demos and children's activities including a puppet show and bubble entertainment round out the morning's activities.
Harvest History Festival Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at Heritage Park, 711 N Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View. The event is free.
Taste of the County Oct. 1: The second annual Taste of the County was inspired by the restaurants that donated meals to families and frontline workers during the pandemic. Taste food from San Mateo County restaurants and sip on drink pours from local wineries and breweries. There will also be live music and a children's area with games and activities. A VIP Plus pass gets you access to the VIP Lounge with an upgraded bar.
Taste of the County Oct. 1 from noon to 4 p.m. at the San Mateo County Event Center, 2495 South Delaware St., San Mateo. Tickets start at $25 per person, and kids up to 14 years old get in free with a paid adult ticket.
Great Glass Pumpkin Patch Oct. 1-2: The Palo Alto Art Center hosts the 27th annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch, which brings 5,000 people to the art center's grounds to browse more than 10,000 one-of-a-kind glass pumpkins, gourds and autumnal keepsakes for sale. The glass pumpkins come in all colors and sizes, ranging in height from 1 inch to 2 feet. There will also be glass-blowing demonstrations throughout the weekend.
Great Glass Pumpkin Patch Oct. 1-2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto. Admission is free.
Bay Area Diwali Festival Oct. 8: The Hindu festival of Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated by millions of people every year. Join the Cupertino festivities for Indian food, arts and crafts booths, music and dancing featuring classical Kathak and Bharatanatyam to popular Bollywood.
Bay Area Diwali Festival Oct. 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Memorial Park, 10185 N. Stelling Road in Cupertino. Admission is free.
San Carlos Art & Wine Faire Oct. 8-9: Besides a variety of food, wine and craft brew, the 30th annual San Carlos Art & Wine Faire features over 150 artists selling ceramics, photography and more, live bands and a family fun zone.
San Carlos Art & Wine Faire Oct. 8-9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at San Carlos Avenue and Laurel Street in San Carlos. Admission is free.
Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival Oct. 15-16: One of the Bay Area's favorite fall traditions is back for its 50th year. Beat the traffic and head to the Coastside early for the pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. either day. The costume contest and Great Pumpkin Parade are Saturday, and the 44th annual Pumpkin Run (a kids' fun run, 5K, 10K and half-marathon) is Sunday morning. Peruse pumpkin patches, sip on Half Moon Bay Brewing Company's Pumpkin Harvest Ale and enjoy pumpkin-infused foods including chili, smoothies and several desserts. Don't forget about the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, which is held at the beginning of the week on Oct. 10 starting at 7 a.m.
Halloween at Hiller Aviation Museum Oct. 22-31: Visit the Hiller Aviation Museum in October as it's transformed into the Haunted Hangar with spooky decorations. Come for the Halloween Kids Carnival Oct. 22-23, where kids can paint a plane, and for the Halloween Kids Festival Oct. 29-30 featuring the helicopter pumpkin drop.
Halloween at Hiller Aviation Museum Haunted Hangar display Oct. 22-31 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. Oct. 28-30), Halloween Kids Carnival and Paint-A-Plane Oct. 22-23 from 10 a.m. to noon, Halloween Kids Festival Oct. 29-30 from 10 a.m. to noon (pumpkin drop at noon). Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos. Museum admission is $19 per adult, $12 per senior (65 and up) and child ages 5 to 17, free for kids 4 and under.
Mountain View Monster Bash Oct. 29: Don your Halloween costumes for spooky games, a twisty maze, stilt walkers, a Día de los Muertos celebration and more in Mountain View. Attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the family-friendly fall festival.
Monster Bash Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rengstorff Park, 201 S Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View. The event is free.
Art & Lit Fest Nov. 5: This inaugural event will showcase local poets, authors, artists, musicians and crafters to promote the rise of Daly City's art community. Shop artisan vendors, listen to author talks and live music, browse the art gallery and take part in a community mural.
Art & Lit Fest Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Serramonte Center, 3 Serramonte Center, Daly City. Admission is free.
Día de los Muertos Celebration Nov. 7: Celebrate the Day of the Dead with music, traditional food and a processional at Courthouse Square in Redwood City. The San Mateo County History Museum will also host activities, and the Festival of the Altar will be on display Nov. 2-7.
Día de los Muertos Celebration Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Mateo County History Museum and Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Courthouse Square activities begin at 4 p.m., with the procession starting at 6:30 p.m.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse's 150th Anniversary Celebration Nov. 12: Celebrate the 150th anniversary of a Coastside landmark. First lit on Nov. 15, 1872, the 115-foot beacon is tied for the tallest tower on the West Coast. The event will included guided tours, music, children's activities and a local maritime author. The tower's original first order Fresnel lens will be lit from the Fog Signal Building from 5-7 p.m.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse's 150th Anniversary Celebration Nov. 12 from 1-7 p.m. at Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park on Pigeon Point Road in Pescadero. The event is free.
Spartan Turkey Trot Nov. 24: Burn off some calories before the big Thanksgiving dinner at the 13th annual Turkey Trot at Mountain View High. Take part in a 5K walk or run, a kids' run or the Spartan Mile. All proceeds benefit the school's athletic department.
Spartan Turkey Trot Nov. 24 at 8:30 a.m. at Mountain View High School, 3535 Truman Ave., Mountain View. Visit the website closer to the event for fee information.