Pumpkins, Proceratosaurus & a Palace: Perusing the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival

The scene is like something out of a quirky fairy tale with elements like an elegant 18th-century Baroque palace, dinosaurs fashioned out of more than 450,000 pumpkins, squash and gourds, and Rapunzel’s braid dangling from a cobbled tower…

This unlikely trio came together at the world’s largest pumpkin festival, held on the grounds of the Ludwigsburg Palace in Germany. With just days to go before we departed for our Southeast Asian sabbatical last autumn, we accompanied my parents, and their fluffy canines Gigi and Meg to the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest (Kürbisausstellung Ludwigsburg).

It was a late afternoon plentiful with prize pumpkins from around Europe, specimens grown around the world, and pumpkin products and dishes to tempt even the pickiest of palates. (Think sparkling wine, strudel, pasta, muffins, and quiche infused with pumpkins.)

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
The Ludwigsburg Palace.

Each year, there’s a different theme. One year organizers paid homage to undersea critters, last year it was dinosaurs, and this year, I hear there’s a tribute to Switzerland. I imagine that there will be Swiss Army knives and timepieces fashioned out of pumpkins.

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it fitting to enjoy these scenes from a pumpkin festival’s past.

If you’re in Germany this fall, the fest goes through early November!

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Regal blue and gold gate ornamentation at the Ludwigsburg Palace during the annual Pumpkin Fest.
An ornate gate at the Ludwigsburg Palace during the annual Pumpkin Fest.
A family walks the grounds of the Ludwigsburg  Palace during its yearly Pumpkin Fest in Germany.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
My dad and Meg.
A first-place pumpkin at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest in Germany.
1. Platz = first place!
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
A boy looks up at a massive T-Rex dinosaur fashioned out of pumpkins at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest in Germany.
A gardener figure, made out of pumpkins and holding a rake, at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest in Germany.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Shawn, my parents, pups Gigi and Meg, and me.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
A dinosaur fossil?
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
A figure resembling an elephant, is made out of pumpkins, butternut squash, and gourds at Germany's Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
An orange pumpkin from the USA, and called "Goose Bumps II" is on display at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest.
A green and yellow pumpkin from South Africa, and called "Star 8001" is on display at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
The chalkboard menu at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest displays food items in German. There's everything from pumpkin soup and pumpkin strudel to pumpkin spaghetti. Prices in Euro are also included.
Picnic tables are set out at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest in Germany.
A woman walks a dog at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest.
A braid-like rope with a ribbon dangles from a stone tower at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest in Germany.
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest
Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and a co-founder of Eloquence. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta, as well as Heidelberg, Germany. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Though they are currently nomadic, they look forward to establishing a European home someday. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

23 thoughts on “Pumpkins, Proceratosaurus & a Palace: Perusing the World’s Largest Pumpkin Festival

      1. I would definitely love this!

        Pumpkin recipes: There are so many pumpkin recipes I love. A month or so ago I prepared a pumpkin recipe, and then this past week I made a brownie with a graham cracker pumpkin pie spice combination. Still preparing something soon : )

        Thank you for asking and the inspiration!

      2. Judy, I’ll have to dig a little deeper into your recipe archives, because I seem to have missed the pumpkin recipe from last month. Eventually, we’ll have to cook up the pumpkins we just carved. :)

  1. Tricia, I have to admit, I am a tad bit jealous and homesick while going through your photos on this post. Autumn is my favorite season back home because of the fall foliage, Halloween, Thanksgiving, cute coats and boots! Not to mention the excitement leading up to the holidays!

    1. Antoinette, yes, we’re getting geared up for the trick-or-treaters tonight.

      For how much longer will you be in South America? Perhaps the homesickness you’re feeling can be erased when you consider the good work you’ve done in Peru.

      The pumpkin soup, fall foliage and fun fall clothes will be waiting for you next year. :)

  2. There is a real fascination with pumpkins – every where. Down the road from The Farm we see fields covered with pumpkins and the children choosing their favorite. In Ontario (where we spend time) they grow pumpkins that are enormous. Last year l,808.5 pounds. Shades of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. Love your photographs of some very strange pumpkin creations. Virginia

    1. Virginia,1,800 pounds? That’s incredible!

      We just finished carving our 4 creations this past weekend – Wink, Schmooo, Moustache and Cat. Did you do any carving this year? Tonight, the little trick-or-treaters come. Having been away from the US for 10 Halloweens, it’s fun to see the custom again. :)

      1. Alas and alack Tricia – there is only 3 young children the length of our road. Their parents take them into the village for trick or treating. I quite love seeing the children in their dress up costumes, so we are driving to my brothers (45 min away) to spend Halloween with them and their two young boys. Of course I am going in costume. I have an exotic silk ensemble (tunic and skirt) from Indian. The Good Husband is going as “men in black”. Virginia

      2. Virginia, I do hope you will post pictures of your exotic costumes and traditional evening. :) Safe travels and have fun tonight! (I’m sad that my German Dirndl / traditional dress is in Germany tonight, otherwise I’d love to be in costume while helping give out goodies.)

Join the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: