Even though it’s still sunny and warm outside, there’s a nip in the air with the promise of fall to come. One of my favourite things about fall is the Kürbisausstellung Ludwigsburg (Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival), the largest pumpkin festival in the world which takes place in the beautiful sprawling gardens of the Schloss Ludwigsburg (Luwigsburg Palace).
I loved visiting the festivals in 2014 and 2015 when the themes were ‘Royalty’ and ‘Pumpkins in Flight’. This year’s theme is ‘Welcome to the Circus’ so all the statues and displays have something to do with the circus, acrobatics, performers, or clowns.
We went to the festival on a warm Tuesday afternoon. As I discovered last year, you can save 3 Euros on the regular price admission (8,50 Euros) by entering the gardens after 5:30pm with the Abendkarte. However, some of the festival offerings close early, like the Pumpkin Gourmet restaurant at 5:30pm and the souvenir shop and culinary pumpkin stands at 6pm. Tip: If you only want to see the pumpkin displays and avoid the crowds, then I still would suggest getting the Abendkarte (evening ticket) after 5:30pm – those tickets actually go on sale at 5:25pm. If you want to experience everything on offer at the festival, then go earlier in the day and pay regular admission.
There are many 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 exploring the different statues and figures on display. I think ‘Welcome to the Circus’ is the best year yet! Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day:
They did a great job creating circus performers (horse-riding acrobats, knife throwers, and clowns) and showing off circus animals like elephants and tigers, too. The most visually stunning display is the tightrope walker with all the colourful flags emulating the inside of a circus tent.
The restaurant was pretty much closed by the time we got there, but I did peek at the menu. You can enjoy spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto, rice with pumpkin and vegetables, pumpkin soup, pumpkin tart, pumpkin strudel and pumpkin pound cake, just to name a few. If you go to the restaurant, let me know what you think of the dishes!
We also had a chance to visit the store selling all types of decorative items and pumpkin products. We tried a pumpkin chutney on a little piece of bread which we saw for sale in this store. I also spotted pumpkin puree for those looking to make their North American-style pumpkin dishes. (It was 4,50 Euros though for a small jar, so be forewarned).
The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin festival runs from September 2 – November 6, 2016 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 pumpkin smashings. 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? Which theme has been your favourite so far?