The Ultimate Guide to Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival 2023: From Giant Pumpkins to Pumpkin Beer

Oktoberfest isn’t the only thing to enjoy during autumn in Germany. The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is an annual event that takes place in the city of Ludwigsburg, Germany. It is one of the largest pumpkin festivals in the world and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The festival is known for its giant pumpkins, pumpkin sculptures, and a wide variety of pumpkin-inspired foods and drinks.

In this blog post, we will explore the history of Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival, the world’s largest pumpkin, the art of pumpkin sculptures, other activities to enjoy at the festival, pumpkin-inspired foods and drinks, what to purchase at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival, family-friendly fun, tips for navigating the festival grounds, and what to expect in future festivals.

Thousands of Pumpkins in a Variety of Color at the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

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The Ultimate Guide to Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival: From Giant Pumpkins to Pumpkin Beer

Ludwigsburg stands unmatched in the realm of pumpkins! Between August and December, the Palace grounds become home to the globe’s grandest pumpkin display, a significant feature of the Baroque in Bloom Palace Gardens (Blühendes Barock), an expansive garden exhibit that embraces a unique theme annually. There are about 450,000 pumpkins and 600 different kinds of pumpkins at this pumpkin festival alone. It’s one of the world’s largest pumpkin festival! 

From fragrant edible varieties to decorative ones, the event showcases intricately-carved pumpkin artworks and offers mouthwatering pumpkin-infused delicacies, such as savory soups, waffles, and the local delicacy, Maultaschen, reminiscent of ravioli.

The History of Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival: How it All Began

Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival (Kürbisausstellung Ludwigsburg) began in 1999 as a small event organized by a group of local farmers located in the German city of Ludwigsburg. It started as a way to showcase their giant pumpkins, pumpkin displays, and celebrate the harvest season. Over the years, the festival in southwest Germany has grown in size and popularity, attracting visitors from all over the world. Today, it is one of the most anticipated events in the region and has become an important part of Ludwigsburg’s cultural heritage. It is held yearly at Schloss Ludwigsburg on the Ludwigsburg palace gardens.

When is the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival?

The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin festival takes place typically between the end of August sometimes early September to December. This year it is from August 25 – December 3, 2023. 

The festival operates daily from 9 am to 8:30 pm – these hours work best during summer. However, during the fall when the sun sets faster, it’s worth noting that the venue isn’t illuminated after dusk, so visiting post-sunset might not be ideal, and hard to see the sculptures.

Food and souvenirs are available for purchase from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm every day.

Where Is The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival

Me at the Pumpkin Festival in Ludwigsburg holding my friend's white dog Watson with a pumpkin sculpture of a man writing in the background

The Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is held on the grounds of the Ludwigsburg Palace (also known as the “Residenzschloss Ludwigsburg”) in Ludwigsburg, Germany. This event, which is renowned for being one of the largest pumpkin festivals in the world, takes place within the Baroque in Bloom Palace Gardens (Blühendes Barock), the beautiful baroque gardens surrounding the palace. The city of Ludwigsburg is situated in the Baden-Württemberg region of southern Germany.

Address: Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg
Where to Park: Parkhaus im Marstall

It can be a perfect day trip depending on where you live or are visiting from. 

  • From Stuttgart about 30 minutes
  • From Heidelberg about an hour
  • From Munich about 2.5 hours
  • From Ramstein about 2 hours
  • From Grafenwohr about 3 hours

Cost for the Pumpkin Festival

When you arrive, you will be expected to pay for a ticket to see the Pumpkin Festival alone. It does not include tickets to the palace and only provides you access to the grounds. The cost of tickets is about €10.00 per adult and €4.80 for children ages 4-15. They accept cards and cash as well. You may be able to get a group ticket for families or a family ticket, so be sure to ask for the price of that depending on the size of your family. 

You can also visit the Ludwigsburg castle at an extra cost if you want to explore beyond just the castle grounds and the pumpkin festival. 

It is recommended to purchase your tickets at the location as the tickets in advance are more of a hassle than it is worth since they take several days to arrive. Since the grounds are fairly large, you shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to access or reach capacity regardless of how busy it is. 

The World’s Largest Pumpkin: A Must-See Attraction at the Festival

One of the main highlights of Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is the world’s largest pumpkin exhibition. This giant pumpkin weighs several hundred kilograms and is grown specifically for the festival. It is carefully transported to the festival grounds and displayed for visitors to marvel at. Fun facts about the giant pumpkin include its impressive size, the amount of water it requires to grow, and the techniques used by farmers to ensure its optimal growth. Every year’s theme are different so the exhibitions and pumpkin art will all be different from last year and you’ll see some of the biggest pumpkins in Europe. 

The Art of Pumpkin Carving: Tips and Tricks from the Experts

Another popular attraction at Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is the pumpkin carving competition. Participants from all over the world showcase their skills and creativity by carving intricate designs into pumpkins. Past winners of the competition have shared their tips and tricks for achieving impressive pumpkin carvings. Photos of their creations serve as inspiration for visitors who want to try their hand at pumpkin carving.

Beyond the Pumpkin Patch: Other Activities to Enjoy at the Festival

While the giant pumpkins and pumpkin carving competition are the main attractions in the town of Ludwigsburg, Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival offers many other activities for visitors to enjoy. Be sure to check the official website for dates of upcoming events: 

  • September 23-24: Germany’s Largest Pumpkin Soup – biggest bowl of pumpkin soup
  • October 9: Pumpkin Weighing – Find out the heaviest pumpkin in the world
  • October 15: Pumpkin Carving Competition
  • October 21-22: Pumpkin Carving for the Public
  • October 28-31: Jack o Lanterns or Pumpkin Lighting
  • November 26: The “Slaughter” Festival where pumpkins are smashed open. Although this is typically the last day of the festival.  

From Sweet to Savory: The Best Pumpkin-Inspired Foods to Try

One of the highlights of Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is the wide variety of pumpkin-inspired foods available. There are a couple of food vendors where you can get some local dishes. From sweet treats like pumpkin waffles to savory dishes like pumpkin soup and pumpkin ravioli, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can also sample unique creations like pumpkin ice cream and pumpkin-flavored sausages. You might be wanting to try some pumpkin pie, but unfortunately, that wasn’t something I was able to see there. 

List of Pumpkin Food to Try

  • Pumpkin Cream Soup
  • Pumpkin Fries
  • Pumpkin Pasta
  • Pumpkin Risotto
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Waffles
  • Pumpkin Wine/Pumpkin Prosecco
  • Pumpkin Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Bratwurts
  • Pumpkin Veggie Rice

Pumpkin Beer, Wine, and Cocktails: A Guide to the Festival’s Boozy Offerings

For those looking to indulge in some alcoholic beverages, Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival has plenty to offer. There are pumpkin beers, pumpkin-infused wines, and pumpkin liquor available for visitors to enjoy. These drinks are made using fresh pumpkins and other seasonal ingredients, creating unique flavors that are perfect for autumn.

I highly recommend grabbing a bottle of the pumpkin liquor as a souvenir, it’s pretty delicious and affordable in price. I wasn’t a big fan of pumpkin wine, but it is available as well if that is something you would like to enjoy. 

The Pumpkin Market: What Pumpkin Products to Buy

Visitors who want to take home some pumpkins or pumpkin products can visit the pumpkin market at Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival. Here, they can find a wide variety of pumpkins, ranging from small decorative ones to large carving pumpkins. There are also other pumpkin-related products for sale, such as pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spice mixes, and pumpkin-scented candles. You can also purchase pumpkin liquid, pumpkin wine, and a few other knick-knacks and fun items to check out. 

Family-Friendly Fun: Activities and Entertainment for Kids at the Festival

Train at the Story Book Park located on the grounds of Schloss Ludwigsburg

Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is a family-friendly event with plenty of activities and entertainment options for children. There are interactive activities, events, and more to keep kids entertained.

On the grounds, you also have access to the storybook park. At the park, you can go through the storybooks and fairy tales traditionally in Germany and beyond. Of course, many of these are in Germany, but it’s still a fun and exciting thing to do. You can see Tapunzel’s tower where her hair comes down from the window of the castle. 

Inside of the park, you can also pay to ride on a small train which we had a blast doing! It’s a super fun experience. 

Getting to the Pumpkin Festival in Germany and Getting Around: Tips for Navigating the Festival Grounds

Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is easily accessible by public transportation, with regular train and bus services to the city. For those driving, there are designated parking areas near the festival grounds. Once at the festival, visitors can use a map to navigate the various attractions and food stalls. It is recommended to arrive early to avoid crowds and make the most of the festival experience. If you want more specific details, keep reading. 

Driving in Germany

This will be the easiest, most direct and fastest route to the pumpkin festival in Ludwidgsburg. You can easily find parking lots or parking garages within the area just by typing in your GPS “Parkhaus” nearby. You can easily rent a car in Germany as well if you are visiting while on vacation to make this a smooth and easy way to travel around Germany. 

Address: Schlossstraße 30, 71634 Ludwigsburg
Where to Park: Parkhaus im Marstall

Train/Public Transportation

Germany has decent public transportation networks. Your starting point determines the ticket and route required to reach Ludwigsburg. Consider these options:

  • Baden-Württemberg-Ticket: €24 for the primary traveler, with €5 for each additional companion (up to a total of 5 passengers). This ticket is valid from 9 am to 3 am the next day and covers all regional trains, as well as S and U-Bahns.
  • Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket: €42 for the initial passenger and an added €6.50 for each subsequent traveler (capping at 5 passengers in total)

To navigate the English version of the DB Site:

  • Select ‘Offers’ at the top, then Regional Offers.
  • From the left panel, choose Regional day tickets.

For the most straightforward directions, use Google Maps and input the address. 

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Overall Thoughts

Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is a must-visit event for pumpkin enthusiasts and anyone looking for a fun-filled day out. With its giant pumpkins, pumpkin carving competitions, delicious food and drinks, and family-friendly activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a fan of pumpkin food and drinks or simply want to marvel at the world’s largest pumpkin, Ludwigsburg’s Pumpkin Festival is an experience not to be missed. So mark your calendars and start planning your visit to this incredible celebration of all things pumpkin.

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Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival Pinterest Image, two images - one of me at Ludwigsburg and one with images of thousands of pumpkins in a variety of color, with text overlay