The first I heard of the world’s largest (yes, the world!) pumpkin festival was by reading this post by living in Stuttgart, a blog that I follow on Facebook and have found so very helpful in my first several months in Stuttgart. Then, as recommended, I headed over to the Kaffee und Kuchen blog to read even more about the festival. (Thanks, you two!!)
The festival’s main website is available in English and has everything you need before you make your visit. Don’t worry, it’s not too late! The festival runs through November 6th. The cost of entry (before 5:30pm) is 8,50 Euro. The theme this year is the circus (or Zirkus in German) and there was certainly no shortage of circus-themed pumpkin creatures and decorations!
Outside of these pumpkin sculptures, there are hundreds of different varieties of pumpkins to look at and buy. They’re all very well marked so that you know which ones are good for carving, baking, cooking, decoration, etc. We bought a few small bright orange ones (picture below) for soup, two larger orange ones for carving, and one tromboncino (it looks like a snake!) for baking sweets.
There are a lot of activities for both children and adults, including an entire walking adventure through different fairy tales, a labyrinth, and a hay/straw pit for the kids. Robert and I opted for the boat ride. It may have been a bit silly for two grown adults, but we enjoyed the ride. 🙂
Oh, and we did A LOT of eating. Everything there is pumpkin-involved, of course. We tried pumpkin soup topped with pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinegar, a pumpkin rice dish with veggies (fyi – rice was very undercooked), pumpkin flammkuchen, pumpkin bratwurst, and a vegetarian pumpkin burger. Outside of the rice, everything was very good. I believe the gourmet kitchens close at 5:30pm so make sure you plan accordingly!
We also saw the largest pumpkin in the world! It was grown in Belgium and weighs a whopping 1,190kg (over 2,500 pounds!) — essentially, it weighs about as much as a standard car. It wasn’t the prettiest thing to look at, but it’s pretty amazing that a vegetable can grow so very big! (Sorry, this picture doesn’t really do it justice…)
Last, but not least, I failed to mention that this festival is on the grounds of Schloss Ludwigsburg, or the castle of Ludwigsburg. The castle is beautiful and the acres and acres of gardens surrounding the castle are just stunning. It would be worth a visit even without the pumpkin festival. Here is a collage of the some of my nature pictures, along with a picture of the castle itself:
Bottom line: If you live in Stuttgart or anywhere near Ludwigsburg, definitely check out this festival. This will now become an annual event for us. We drove from Stuttgart and it took us just 30 minutes on the B27. And, what’s even better is that we brought home pumpkin juice, homemade pumpkin bread, we have two pumpkins to carve, and will soon be making pumpkin soup and pumpkin muffins. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.