The 30th annual show celebrating all things mechanical returned April 30 for the first time since 2019.

A 1959 Turner 950 Sport on display at the 30th annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show at the Half Moon Bay Airport April 30, 2023. Photo by Devin Roberts.

The heavy traffic to get into Half Moon Bay on Sunday morning was the kind usually only reserved for one of the beautifully sunny and warm days that occasionally grace the coast this time of year. However, despite overcast skies, a brisk breeze and a competing Game 7 between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, there were droves of people pouring into the Half Moon Bay Airport.

The airport hosted the 30th annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show April 30 for the first time since the pandemic. This gathering of mechanical ingenuity, power and style marked the milestone with a massive celebration. More than 2,000 machines of all kinds were on display, with some also accessible for attendees to sit or ride in: everything from hot rods and luxury cars to custom motorcycles, military vehicles and vintage warbirds. Tractors and dragsters on display were nods to Half Moon Bay’s agricultural history and the former Half Moon Bay Drag Strip.

Just like the vehicles in attendance, the crowd was diverse and eclectic, with many families. It had the feel of a small all-American fair and a large international exhibition rolled into one. Thousands of people filled the event space, which was spread out over the expanse of the airport and surrounding grass areas. In addition to the enormous amount of driving, flying, and working machines on display, there was live music, a kids’ play area, a robotics demo, craft vendors and various food and drink offerings from Coastside restaurants like Breakwater Barbecue and Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. 

The day kicked off with a pre-show grand entrance and parade of vintage police cars before gates opened at 10 a.m. The show officially began with Bob Senz’ Big Crazy Cacklefest, a mass synchronized firing-up of the engines to honor show founder and chairman emeritus Bob Senz (which recurred at noon and 2 p.m.) Musicians played classic rock, R&B and soul hits as attendees perused the many machines.

An attendee rests his foot on a motorcycle; A P-51 Mustang; Ed Kimball from Roots of Motive Power Railroad & Logging Museum in Willits stands next to a steam engine; A 1920s Dodge Sedan Rat Rod. Photos by Devin Roberts.

It was the first time the self-proclaimed “Coolest Show on Earth” had been held since 2019. Concerns about the pandemic led to its cancellation in 2020 and 2021, and last year it was unexpectedly nixed due to limited space because of farming on the airport property.

Dream Machines marked the start of festival season on the Coastside, with the second annual Half Moon Bay Wine & Jazz Festival returning May 13, Fog Fest Sept. 23-24 and the Art & Pumpkin Festival Oct. 14-15.

From top: Attendees walk around at the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show with the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Ye Olde Pub” in the background; A custom Volkswagen bus; A 1966 Corvette; Families gather to ride a World War II M5 half-track armored personnel carrier; A young spectator screams in excitement at the robotics demo; San Jose resident Dawit Amha sits in the driver’s seat of a 1920s Ford Model T Racer; Visitors check out a Honda motorcycle; A 1960 Chevy Corvette Roadster on display; Baylands Quarter Midget Racing Association driver Greyson from San Jose stands next to his car; From left, Megan Gosch, Tami Hatter, Darlene Hansen and Cindy Sarvela sit next to friend Karin Bird’s “Birdster” car; A custom 1968 Camaro on display; and an attendee sits in a 1933 DeSoto Model SD Convertible Hot Rod. Photos by Devin Roberts.

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