Half Moon Bay Set to Host First Wine and Jazz Fest | Local News

Downtown Half Moon Bay will host its first Wine and Jazz Fest in May to celebrate the Bay Area’s booming wine, music and coastal businesses, with organizers hoping for a grand inaugural event.

“We’re very excited about this, and we hope it will be a fun way for people to get out and do something fun in a relatively safe environment,” said Half Moon Bay Downtown member Colleen Henney. Association, which organized and prepares the event.

The festival takes place on May 15 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. The event will feature live jazz performances, California wine tastings and dining options within three blocks of Main Street. Food from local vendors will be available for purchase, as well as a beer garden offering coastal beers. Jazz musician Paula West will headline, and the festival will also pay tribute to the legacy of longtime Coast resident Bobby Hutcherson, a well-known jazz vibraphonist whose career dates back to the 1960s. Hutcherson’s son, Barry, will perform and offer a musical tribute.

“The Downtown Association created it because we love jazz and many of us love jazz. We thought it would be a good thing to bring Main Street and create fun events for people,” Henney said.

The Half Moon Bay Downtown Association is made up of downtown business owners and other members of the local community who hold events in downtown Main Street. Henney, who runs Jupiter & Main, a unique downtown produce store, is part of the association. She noted that the festival is a crucial chance to attract customers and raise awareness among local shops in general amid instability and restrictions. Henney said business has been up and down for Half Moon Bay since COVID, with more people coming to the coast to hang out. However, the restaurants have suffered from several temporary closures and a lack of people eating inside, creating a dire situation for an industry that needs a boost.

“The goal is to bring people to Main Street and increase business for local businesses, retailers and restaurants,” Henney said.

Organizers originally planned the festival for 2020 before COVID delayed plans by two years. Due to public safety concerns, the city has had to cancel most major events over the past two years. Henney said while the future is unpredictable, especially with various spikes in COVID cases, she hopes case numbers will be much lower in May. The outdoor event will be spread across Main Street to ensure it is not crowded in one area, giving more space to move around. Organizers have also capped tickets to ensure this will not lead to overcrowding.

“We’re working very closely with the city, and we’re confident they’re going to let it be here,” Henney said.

General admission tickets will be $75, with a limited number of general admission tickets available for $100 on the day of the event. A VIP experience will also be available at the It’s Italia restaurant. Up to $35,000 of the proceeds raised will help fund school programs. Approximately five scholarships of $5,000 for the arts will be awarded and $10,000 to school music departments for instruments.

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