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

Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Germany Kuerbisausstellung

The scene is reminiscent of a quirky fairy tale: 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. It was a late afternoon plentiful with prize pumpkins from around Europe, specimens grown ’round the world, and pumpkin products and dishes to tempt even the pickiest of palates (sparkling wine, strudel, pasta, muffins and quiche infused with pumpkins).

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

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 (think Swiss Army knives and timepieces fashioned out of the ubiquitous Halloween fruit).

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

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Fest

Where in the World?

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.)

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