The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Enlarge image An exhibit of a swimmer at the sports-themed 2013 Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival. (© dpa) Each fall, hundreds of thousands of pumpkins are displayed in the gardens of a palace in Ludwigsburg, a city located in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. This year, the city has brought in 150 tons of 500 different species of pumpkins for its 14th annual festival, the largest pumpkin exhibition in the world.

The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival typically displays more than 400,000 pumpkins each year, arranging them to create larger than life sculptures based on a particular theme. This year’s festival has a sports theme, with pumpkin sculptures taking the form of boxers in a ring, a swimmer, a soccer ball, a discus thrower and other athletes and sports equipment.

pumpkin boxers Enlarge image The 2013 pumpkin festival has a sports theme. (© dpa) In previous years, the festival has had a Jurassic Park theme, an ocean theme, a Switzerland theme, a fairytale theme and an Egyptian theme, among others. The two-month-long exhibitions typically attract families, tourists and photographers engrossed in the unusual displays and the fall-themed activities offered at the Ludwigsburg Palace.

“For all people who are into creative displays and themes, the pumpkin festival is a great way to experience all of this,” Charles Howell, an expatriate who lives in Ludwigsburg, told the Stuttgart Citizen.

pumpkin boat Enlarge image Inka Endrizzi competes in the 2012 German pumpkin boat championship in Ludwigsburg. (© dpa)

In addition to the displays, the Ludwigsburg festival also features an annual pumpkin boat race in which participants paddle across a lake using boats made from hollowed-out pumpkins. These “boats” can easily weigh 500 – or more – pounds, which means they can sink quickly. Getting across the lake is a race against time – both for first place and for the sake of staying dry.

The festival also features an annual European championship for the heaviest pumpkin. The year 2013 set a new record for the world’s heaviest: at 1,053.5 kilograms (2,322.6 pounds), this year’s heaviest pumpkin is the first one in history to surpass the 1,000-kilo mark.  On Nov. 3 – the last day of the festival – the winning pumpkins are publicly smashed after having been on display for several weeks.

heaviest pumpkin Enlarge image The world's heaviest pumpkin is weighed at the 2013 festival. (© dpa) Those who visit the grounds of the Ludwigsburg Palace in the fall can visit the festival to sample pumpkin-flavored dishes, wine or squash. Specialities include pumpkin burgers, pumpkin-flavored popcorn and pumpkin cake.

Visitors can also go to the Halloween-themed tent to carve their own pumpkins. This year’s festival runs from Aug. 8 until Nov. 3.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany, German Embassy Washington

World's Largest Pumpkin Festival

fairytale theme

Festivals & Events

Festivals & Events

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