Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

The Largest Pumpkin Festival in the World Takes Place in Germany

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
••• http://www.kuerbisausstellung-ludwigsburg.de/en

Though the Germans aren't known for their Halloween celebrations (try more European traditions like Reformationstag and Martinstag), they are very into pumpkins. Generally referred to as Kürbis which just means "squash", this is a fall staple that must be consumed in mass quantities like Spargel in spring and summer.

So what better place than Germany for the largest pumpkin festival in the world? Taking place on the grounds of a spectacular palace, Schloss Ludwigsburg, over 450,000 pumpkins are on display during Ludwigsburg Kürbisausstellung.

Did you know there were 800 different kinds of pumpkins? They are on display here from edible to decorative, bumpy to smooth, mammoth to skinny and curvy. With themes like "Pumpkins in Flight" or this year's "The Pumpkin Circus is Coming to Town!", pumpkins are transformed into elaborate action scenes and art pieces. In 2016, look for pumpkin acrobatics, clowns, knife throwers and more.

Events at Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Hundreds of thousands of festive pumpkins are on display every day, but there are several can't miss events during the festival.

Kuerbisregatta
Sunday, September 18 at 12:30
South Garden, Blühendes Barock

It is surprising what will float...like a pumpkin. The annual pumpkin boat race is a highlight of the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. Daring canoeists try to steer hollowed-out giant pumpkins across the lake as fast as they can.

German Pumpkin Championship

Sunday, October 2 at 13:30
South Garden, Blühendes Barock

The heaviest pumpkins from Germany step up to the scales. The 2015 German record is 812.5 kg (1,791 lbs)! And if your pumpkin is long, not  schwer (heavy), they will be pulling out the tape measures to find the longest pumpkin as well.

European Pumpkin Championship

Sunday, October 9 at 13:30
South Garden, Blühendes Barock

Following the German championship, heavyweights from around Europe will compare their girth for this competition. In 2013, the world's heaviest pumpkin was 1,053 kilograms (2,322 pounds) making it the first in history to surpass the 1,000-kilo mark.

Giant Pumpkin Carving 

Sunday, October 16 at 10:00
Pumpkin Festival Grounds

The largest pumpkins of the festival are on display again, this time being cut into by famed pumpkin artists. Watch as they cut into orangey flesh to create giant, organic masterpieces. Watch for famed US pumpkin carver Ray Villafane and his team from Thursday September 15th to Sunday September 18th. The audience will judge which giant pumpkin is best transformed.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving 

Sunday, October 22 and 29 at 10:00
Carving tent by the pumpkin sales stand

If you are missing seeing jack-o'-lanterns on every corner, watch the experts carve Halloween pumpkins into sinister smiles and try your hand at an artistic design. There is even the chance to win great prizes.

Live Music

Each Saturday, September 10 - October 29 at 14:00
Festival stage

Every Saturday live musical entertainment takes to the stage to entertain the pumpkin admiring crowd.

Smashing Pumpkins

Sunday, November 6 at 12:00
Pumpkin Festival Grounds

To celebrate the season's end, the winning pumpkins are honored with a horrific pummeling. The winners of the Weigh Off are smashed to bits and visitors can take home some of the giants' seeds.

The full list of events can be found here.

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival for the Kids

The grounds are a fall wonderland for kids and adults alike, but kids can really run free at the Märchengarten (Fairy Tale Garden). Not quite medieval, this kids' area was built in 1958 and includes interactive sites like a Rapunzel tower, miniature train and boat ride. Children can also observe dioramas of classic German fairytales, some recognizable...some not so much.

All things Pumpkin are on the Menu

What fun is looking at all of these delicious pumpkins if you can't eat any of them? Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is happy to oblige with tons of pumpkin-inspired foods and drinks.

Find pumpkin on Flammkuchen, in sausage and in Maultaschen. Try Kürbis spaghetti with pumpkin seed pesto or pumpkin burgers and pumpkin fries, find pumpkin in strudel, and in Sekt and schorle.

And don't miss Germany´s biggest bowl of pumpkin soup. Served daily from 11:00 til 17:00 on the weekend of September 24th and 25th, visitors can enjoy a delicious dish of the record-breaking soup and contribute to charity as 1 euro of each bowl sold is donated to charity.

If you want to bring a little pumpkin home, there are plenty of delicious pumpkin products. Stands offer everything from pumpkin chutney to pumpkin ketchup to cinnamon-sugar coated pumpkin seeds. Bring your own jug to fill with fresh-pressed apple cider. Take the opportunity to sample everything.

Visitor Information for Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Website: www.kuerbisausstellung-ludwigsburg.de

Dates: September 2nd at 9:00 til November 6 at 20:30

Hours: Festival 9:00 - 20:30; Pumpkin Restaurant 10:30 - 17:30; Farm & Souvenir Shop 10:00 - 18:00; Culinary and Decorative Pumpkin Sales 10:00 - 18:00

Address: Blühende Barock at Ludwigsburg Castle, Mömpelgardstrasse 28, Ludwigsburg, 71640. Ludwigsburg Palace is an 18th century palace and is one of the best and largest examples of Baroque architecture in Europe.

Transport: The palace is just 12 kilometers from Stuttgart and the closest airport is Stuttgart Airport. Visitors can take the train or the local S4 or S5 lines to Ludwigsburg. The trip takes about 12 minutes and ends at the Ludwigsburg stop.

For drivers, there are clearly-marked signs from the highway and exits Ludwigsburg North and South will take you to the palace. Parking is free.

Tickets: €8.50 adults; €4.20 children (15 years and younger); €23 Family tickets (two adults and two children). For a discount, consider the Abendkarte for €3 euros off after 17:30. Note that some attractions may be closed.

Tips:

  • The pumpkin exhibition is not illuminated, so visiting after dark is not recommended
  • Dogs are allowed
  • If you miss the festival, consider the Ludwigsburg Christmas Market