It's time for the family to celebrate everyone's favorite gourd

It's time for the family to celebrate everyone's favorite gourd

by Jessica Zen & Amanda Palumbo
Stripes Europe

When the air becomes crisp and the falling leaves turn vibrant colors, the pumpkin festivals start calling! While there is certainly no shortage of festivals to attend, one stands out among the rest as a must-visit: Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. From Aug. 30 to Nov. 3, this festival will draw in visitors from miles around. With a plethora of pumpkin delights in store, this event is sure to get you in the fall spirit. Bust out those cardigans and get ready for a fall festival you won’t soon forget!

Pumpkin Regatta on Castle Lake | Photo by Elena Podolnaya 


All things Pumpkin

Located at Blühendes Barock, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival has more pumpkin related foods and activities than you could ever imagine. For those interested in pumpkin-inspired food and beverages, there will be pumpkin tarte flambée, popcorn, burgers, beer and of course, roasted pumpkin seeds. The largest batch of pumpkin soup is made during the last week in September. One-pot holds approximately 2,000 servings!

While you snack on pumpkin-flavored foods, there are plenty of events taking place. Children will especially love listening to tales from the pumpkin patch with Anselm Roser, carving pumpkins and walking through the little chamber of horrors. Adults can cheer on pumpkin canoe racers as they try their hand at victory during the Pumpkin Regatta on Castle Lake. Yes, they really paddle around in hollowed-out pumpkins! There is also an area dedicated to artistic pumpkin carving, a giant pumpkin and squash showcase, as well as musical performances on Saturdays.

Elaborate pumpkin sculptures | Photo by Elena Podolnaya 

Fantastic fairytales and pumpkins

At the heart of it all is the pumpkin itself, which takes many shapes and sizes. Grown in the district of Ludwigsburg, the pumpkins at the festival mainly come from the Eisenmann fruit farm near Marbach am Neckar. The theme this year is the fantastic world of fairytales, and there will be life-size pumpkin sculptures reflecting just that. From unicorns to princesses, who knows what masterpieces will be constructed? Maybe even Cinderella's pumpkin stagecoach! The pumpkin exhibits are made with support structures from local wood and straw and have been a central part of the festival for over 15 years. The largest of pumpkins, which are entered into the German Pumpkin Weigh-Off Championship on Sept. 15, can reach over 1,000 pounds. The most gargantuan of gourds remain on display through the end of the festival for visitors to admire.

The culminating event that shuts down the festival is the smashing of pumpkins. During this time, the largest pumpkins are smashed and visitors can see what the interior of these mammoths really look like. Seeds are also collected during the event and sold to those interested in growing their own monstrosity. Trying to grow Germany’s biggest pumpkin is no easy task, and one single seed can cost up to 500 euros! Serious inquiries only, as far as the growers are concerned.

Whether you want to eat, carve or just smash some pumpkins, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is perfect for enjoying those last rays of fall sunshine. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the unique sculptures that tower over visitors while savoring some pumpkin soup. Don’t miss out, as this event is sure to be a smashing hit! A complete schedule can be found here.


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