Rome wasn’t built in a day, but these Pumpkin sculptures sure were! (Okay, so I don’t really know how long it took but definitely shorter than the Roman Empire!) If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, just look at this!
The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival holds the title for the world’s LARGEST pumpkin festival with over 400,000 pumpkins all across the palace grounds! Each year there is a theme for the fest, and 2017 was the glorious Roman Empire! (As seen from the sculpture of the god Jupiter above.)
The pumpkin festival is something I’ve been wanting to check out since we moved to Germany. Autumn is my favorite season and Halloween is my favorite holiday, so an entire festival dedicated to pumpkins? Sign me up! However, as per usual with the military, something always came up and Tyler was never home to experience it with me. However, that year he was home and my sister was visiting so we all went together!
The pumpkin festival is held each year at the Ludwigsburg Palace in – you guessed it – Ludwigsburg, Germany. Scattered around the palace grounds were pumpkin sculptures depicting everything from the Roman aqueduct systems to Roman soldiers geared up for battle. Not to mention the intricately carved pumpkins showing even more Roman scenes, on a slightly smaller scale. It is easy to spend hours wandering around before you find yourself feeling a little peckish.
Luckily for you, all German fests provide food! At the center of the fest, you can find all types of fall inspired foods – meaning lots of pumpkin flavors! I can’t personally attest to the deliciousness of the pumpkin dishes, however, every table was filled with people enjoying their lunches so it would be safe to assume the food was excellent. We managed to find a few food vendors within the palace grounds, but just outside of the pumpkin fest that served currywurst. We opted for something traditional as I don’t like pumpkin – I know – and because the lines for the fall foods were insane.
We did try the pumpkin prosecco, though! Smack dab in the middle of the fest – near all the food kiosks – are small shops where you can buy almost anything related to pumpkins. They had candies, cookies, decor, actual pumpkins, and, of course, the amazing pumpkin wine. I’m literally feeling buzzed just thinking about it!
After we finished our walkthrough of all the pumpkins in the fest, we made our way back toward the palace entrance and decided we just weren’t quite ready to leave yet. Good thing there was still one more tour of Duke Carl Eugen’s rooms left. Lasting about an hour, the tour took us through several rooms of the Duke and our guide provided us with amazing insight into the lives of Duke Carl Eugen and those around him. Touring the inside of the palace is a great way to keep the adventure going once you’ve had enough of the pumpkins!
Tips for Visiting the 2018 Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival
- This year’s theme is Pumpkin Forest.
- The Pumpkin Festival runs from August 31st to November 4th, opening each morning at 9am and closing each night at 8:30pm. Keep in mind the souvenir shop and food vendors only operate from 10:30am to 5:30pm.
- Tickets to enter the palace grounds cost 9 euro for adults and 4.50 euro for children between the ages of 4-15.
- Dogs are permitted on the palace grounds, but please be a courteous owner and keep them on a short leash as well as immediately pick up after them. They are not allowed inside the palace.
- Arrive early if you want to find parking close to the palace. There are several parking garages around the town, however some require a bit of walking to reach the palace. All parking is paid parking.
- Most weekends the fest hosts some fun events, such as pumpkin carving contests, pumpkin weigh-offs, and pumpkin boat races – yes, that is a thing. It’s best to check the festival website ahead of time to plan around a specific event.
We had such an amazing time at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival and I’m sad that we were only able to visit once out of the three autumn seasons we experienced in Germany. If you’re local or planning a visit to Germany during the fall, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival should not be missed!
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