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Rock the Block Celebrates Half Moon Bay and Buying Local

Big turnout of loyal locals last night at the annual block party.

The weather turned foggy and chilly late yesterday afternoon but that didn’t deter Coastsiders from converging on Main Street for Rock the Block, the annual block party that celebrates life on the Coastside and benefits the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce.

“Rock the Block is a chance for Coastsiders to learn about local non-profits and businesses, and to see what Main Street stores have to offer,” said Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce CEO Charise McHugh.

It’s also a chance to visit with neighbors, listen to some great music, and sample food from local restaurants.

Half Moon Bay resident Becky Schafer, who invited her sister from Burlingame to join in on the fun this year, was enjoying a beer from the and a bowl of clam chowder from , two food vendors participating in the event.

“I try to come to this event every year,” Schafer said. “It’s just so much fun.”

This year’s Rock the Block in particular was a special one for many Coastsiders since last year the event was cancelled, due to the lack of sponsorship because of the recession, according to McHugh.

The Chamber will donate a portion of the event’s proceeds to the Cabrillo Education Fund and Coastside Fireworks. The remainder will go into the Chamber’s general fund.

The idea for Rock the Block originated from the event that the Beautification Committee put on to help the employees of when it burned down in 2003.

The Chamber put on a celebration for the reopening of the new Cunha’s. "Everyone liked it so much, they kept asking us if we could make it an annual event,” said McHugh, adding that the event aligned with their desire to highlight local businesses to residents so they would buy local.

For many Coastsiders, Rock the Block has also become an annual tradition.

The Steins of Montara have gone every year since it first started six years ago.

“It’s been great to see the event grow and become more and more every year,” said Bob Stein with his wife and two daughters. “My daughters like the music and bands. My wife and I enjoy the food and seeing old friends.”

Three bands — Califuegos, Bulk and Bump City — took over the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s Main Stage from about 4 to 8 p.m. while onlookers listened and greeted friends, chatting congenially and eating at tables, while others danced and some even joined in on a line dance.

Local restaurants dominated the food court, serving up calamari, clam chowder and lobster rolls. Princeton Seafood also offered clam chowder. The American Legion dished out hotdogs and links and La Costanera served ceviche, yucca balls, and BBQ ribs while New Leaf offered up pulled pork sandwiches and a mixed greens salad.

Coastside kids really got into the fun with Upgrade Children’s Center. Tattooing and hair dying were all part of the mix. Kids also could dig their hands into big bins filled with sand and marbles in search of blue stars that if they found one could pick a toy out of a prize box.

Driscoll Ranches had a steer set up on a hale bale so participants could practice lassoing a steer, and Arata's Pumpkin Farm had a hay bale maze set up with a big centaur guarding the entrance. Pony rides completed the picture.

And for those who just didn't want to stop the fun kept the celebration going at an after party at Stone Pine Center.

"It's really important for the people that live here to support our local businesses and coming this [event] is a great way to do that," said Kathy Brown of Half Moon Bay. "Tourism alone can't do it. This event is good reminder to buy local."

The genuine coming together of our community is a very special. I'm so grateful to be a part of this community and enjoy these special events tremendously. Thank you to all of those who worked so hard to make the event happen and to all of the amazing members of the community who showed up and made it a great party! Lauren Shelby www.spaceswithin.com

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