HMB Beautification Committee awards $85,000 in Pumpkin Festival money

Press release

By on Fri, May 15, 2009

Coastside civic and non-profit groups, educational organizations and city agencies will share in the $85,000 in grants and donations announced today by the Half Moon Bay Beautification Committee.

Funding is generated through the annual Art & Pumpkin Festival, which has been operated and managed by the Beautification Committee since 1971. The grants and donations are above and beyond the estimated $400,000-$500,000 raised annually by local community service groups from food, beverage, game and parking sales at the Pumpkin Festival.

The largest single contribution ($25,000) went to the on-going maintenance and beautification of the Main Street downtown core. Among the efforts are seasonal planting of flowers, installation and repair of old-fashioned wooden benches, litter removal, cleaning, and year-round maintenance of Main Street.

Some of the organizations receiving funding include the Coastal Repertory Theater ($11,000), San Mateo County Sheriff Explorers Program ($5,760), I.D.E.S. Society ($5,000), Coastside RotaCare Clinic ($4,000),  Coastal Arts League ($4,000), City of Half Moon Bay Police Department PAL program ($3,000), Coastside Adult Day Health Center ($3,000), Senior Coastsiders ($3,000), Half Moon Bay High School Grad Night ($2,000), No Strings Attached Breakfast ($1,500), Sonrisas Communty Dental Clinic ($1,500), Seton Medical Center ($1,500), Young Actors Workshop ($1,000), and Boys & Girls Club of the Coastside ($1,000).

Additionally, $5,000 in college scholarship money will be awarded to Half Moon Bay High School students. The scholarships are named in memory of founding festival members Dolores Mullin, Patsy Dutra and Melvin Mello.

In its 38-year history, the Beautification Committee has directly contributed more than 2.5 million dollars in grants and donations to coastside non-profit organizations and civic causes. "At a time when non-profits are having difficulty funding their programs, we’re delighted to support the outstanding work of many organizations that are so crucial to our sense of community," said Cameron Palmer, President of the Beautification Committee Board of Directors. "We don’t take for granted how fortunate the Coastside is to have an event like the Pumpkin Festival that is able to consistently generate revenue for our non-profits," he said.

About the Half Moon Bay beautification committee

In 1971, the Main Street Committee for Beautification was appointed by the Half Moon Bay City Council to launch a massive "paint-in" and tree-planting program as part of an extensive downtown restoration program. The committee consisted of a group of civic-minded citizens who wanted to make a lasting contribution to the preservation and beautification of the town’s historic Main Street. The committee is still run by a 9-person, volunteer Board of Directors.  

In order to raise funds for their projects, they started the Art & Pumpkin Festival.  Since the festival’s inception 38 years ago, the committee has contributed 2.5 million dollars to various civic projects and community service organizations.

Some of the Main Street projects funded by the committee at no cost to the city have included: the renovation of City Hall, the painting of historic buildings, the installation of old-fashioned street lights and wooden benches, the underground wiring of Main Street, the planting of trees and flower beds, the construction of Mac Dutra and Kitty Fernandez Parks, and the purchase of garbage receptacles and Christmas lights.

The Beautification Committee spends $25,000 every year in the on-going maintenance and beautification of the city’s historic and charming Main Street.

The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival is a huge civic effort. More than thirty non-profit and community service groups participate in the festival by operating food and game booths and parking lots. For most, the festival is their most lucrative fund-raising event of the year, enabling them to raise a substantial portion of their annual budget from the two-day festival.

By providing this opportunity to the non-profit sector, the Pumpkin Festival serves as an "economic engine" helping to perpetuate "giving" and fund-raising in the community, no small feat for a city without a base of large corporate donors.