If you’ve kept up with this blog over the last year, by now you should know that the Germans have festivals for everything so it can come as no surprise that they go all out when it comes to Fall and pumpkin festivals. I have been to two different such festivals in the last month and I have not been let down. From pumpkin soup to pumpkin prosecco, the Germans treat our favorite seasonal gourd with all the love and attention you could want.
The one festival I went to a couple weeks ago felt closer to something you may see in the states with a pumpkin patch to walk through accompanied by food and shopping vendors, a band, bounce house, and tractor rides. The festival I went to last weekend though, in the Ludwigsburg Palace Gardens…was all German, and everything you never knew you wanted in a pumpkin festival.
To start, the pumpkin extravaganza is set against the backdrop of the stunning Ludwigsburg Palace and weaves in an out of the vast maze of gardens. This time of year all of the leaves are changing colors and the flowers are still hanging on so you get the best of both worlds.
As you walk through the gardens, instead of pumpkins laying around a field, you walk through pumpkin lines paths to massive Roman-inspired figures built of a combination of every gourd available. There were Gladiators, Legionaires, the Roman Turtle Formation, and a horse and chariot to name a few, mixed among even more arches and presentations for your every Facebook photo desire.
While walking through the gardens we were pulled in by the alluring scent of cinnamon and sugar that led us right to the roasted pumpkin seeds. There were at least half a dozen vendors that were selling bags of these fresh roasted seeds covered in salt, cinnamon and sugar, or chili and sugar! After that we stopped for a refreshing drink, deciding between sparkling pumpkin juice and pumpkin prosecco (among other options). Not a single pumpkin spice latte in sight (although I did see pumpkin chai)!
To eat, there were pumpkin burgers (vegetarian), pumpkin brats (delicious brats filled with bits of pumpkin), pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin ravioli and more….and I haven’t even listed the desserts!! Basically, if there is something pumpkin you want, they have it. I snagged a bottle of pumpkin prosecco, pumpkin ketchup, pumpkin-raspberry jam, and pumpkin chutney to take home too! Seriously, I could write a whole post just listing everything pumpkin they have there!
The gardens were also set up to be extremely child friendly and entertaining. There were boat rides, train rides, and a children’s garden that was lined with little houses decorated like fairy tales. I couldn’t even get close enough to them for a good photo because there were so many kids watching them!
The festival lasts several months and each weekend there is something new added. Last weekend was the carving of the great pumpkins that they had weighed the week prior. It was pretty cool to watch the art that they could create with so much pumpkin. And if carved pumpkins aren’t your thing (which would be weird if they weren’t your thing…) they also had insanely ornate sand sculptures! Completely random and SO cool!
If your’re in the area and have not been yet, I highly recommend it! It’s a perfect way to spend your Sunday when everything else in the country is closed and it’s a pretty fun thing to take in if you have the time!
Note* there are many parking garages around there, we parked in the Mall parking garage across the street from it. There is also more than one entrance so if the line is crazy at one, you can walk to the other side. We waited for 30 minutes to get in. Some people looked like they already had tickets so they went to the front but I didn’t see online where you could buy tickets.
Fest ends Nov 5, 2017.