Despite being slightly in denial that summer is over, I was eager to check out the Kürbisausstellung Ludwigsburg (Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival) last week. I loved visiting last year’s festival when the theme was ‘Royalty’ and I was looking forward to going again this year. S’s sister visited us for a few days last week and we thought it would be fun to check out the annual autumn festival right at the beginning of its run.
This year’s theme is ‘Pumpkins in Flight’ so all the statues and displays have something to do with flying, air travel or wings. The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is the world’s largest pumpkin festival and takes place in the beautiful sprawling gardens of the Schloss Ludwigsburg (Luwigsburg Palace).
We went late on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. We were planning to go earlier in the day, but after checking out the ticket prices online, I found out that adults can save 3 Euros on the regular price admission (8,50 Euros) by entering the gardens after 5:30pm. While it was nice to save a little money on admission, we did miss out on some of the other festival offerings, like the Pumpkin Gourmet restaurant that closed at 5:30pm or the souvenir shop and culinary pumpkin stands that closed at 6pm. Tip: If you only want to see the pumpkin displays and avoid the crowds, then I suggest getting the Abendkarte (evening ticket) after 5:30pm like we did. If you want to experience everything at the festival, then spring for a regular price ticket in the early afternoon.
There are lots of different entrances to the gardens, but we entered through the main palace entrance just off of Schorndorfer Straße and walked all the way through the inner palace courtyard to get to the gardens. Tip: Be sure just to buy the garden entry ticket unless you actually want to go inside the palace because once we bought the wrong ticket and it took a while to sort out!
Once inside the garden, take your time strolling around and admiring the different statues and figures on display. Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day:
Pumpkin dragon silhouette at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. #Ludwigsburg #Germany A photo posted by Kaffee und Kuchen (@kaffeeundkuchenblog) on
Flying carpet at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival! #Ludwigsburg #pumpkins #kürbis #Germany A photo posted by Kaffee und Kuchen (@kaffeeundkuchenblog) on
Pumpkin eagle at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival! #Ludwigsburg #pumpkins #kürbis #Germany A photo posted by Kaffee und Kuchen (@kaffeeundkuchenblog) on
The displays were so creative with the theme, featuring not only airplanes, rocket ships and birds, but also mushrooms (the red ones with white spots are called Fliegenpilz because flies are attracted to them), a grand piano (called a Flügel in German which also means ‘wing’), and Icarus (a figure from Greek mythology who tried to escape Crete by means of wings).
I would have loved to have tried a few pumpkin dishes, but unfortunately the restaurant was closed because we went so late in the afternoon. I sneaked a peek at the menu and visitors can look forward to trying pumpkin Maultaschen (meat-filled pasta squares similar to ravioli), spaghetti with pumpkin and tomato sauce, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin sparkling wine (!) and lots more. I might just have to visit the festival again before it’s over!
The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin festival runs from September 4 – November 8, 2015 at the Blühendes Barock in Ludwigsburg. There are special events running every weekend, from pumpkin canoe regattas to giant pumpkin carvings to pumpkin weigh offs and more. To see the full list of special events throughout the festival and opening hours, you can visit the website (in English) here.
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Have you ever been to the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival? Are you a pumpkin fanatic like me?