If it has to do with pumpkin, it’s probably at the fest in Ludwigsburg, Germany
Tired of pumpkins yet? They’re chattering away on screens, grinning from grocery store shelves and graphically decomposing on counters and front lawns. Pumpkin spice, glaze and flavor have infested our coffee, cereal and doughnuts. It used to just be jack-o’-lanterns and pies; now pumpkins are well on their way to world domination, or at least a seasonal version of it.
Our new pumpkin overlords have made Ludwigsburg, Germany, a hub of their operation. The pleasant town outside of Stuttgart hosts what is billed as the world’s largest pumpkin exhibition, a claim that is both hard to verify but equally hard to argue with when in its midst.
Here, the overexposed orange fruits are brazenly assembled into the shapes of oversized owls, spiders and squirrels, or just piled up in big, intimidating mounds of unknown structural integrity. There are painted pumpkins and plain pumpkins. There are plump pumpkins and paltry pumpkins. It’s basically a parade of pumpkins.
The pumpkins have apparently intuited that food is the way to win over humanity, and that effort is succeeding wildly. Bratwursts, burgers, waffles, muffins, ice cream, soup, and so on is available, each tinged with the touch of the ubiquitous pumpkin.
No matter how extreme your case of pumpkin fatigue, if you visit the Ludwigsburg pumpkin fest you’re going to be overwhelmed by its culinary charms.
You will find yourself at the end of a serpentine line through hay bales and decorated pumpkins for a small bowl of pumpkin soup and a crust of bread. You’re going to stare expectantly and sweat profusely as pumpkin batter is scooped onto a sizzling waffle iron. You’re going to wait 20 minutes to buy a small plastic chip that entitles you to wait in a second line for another 20 minutes to exchange that small plastic chip for a hot, delicious pumpkin burger.
I encourage you to visit the annual Ludwigsburg pumpkin festival, running through Nov. 4 this year, and officially submit to the ascendant reign of the pumpkin in all its forms. At least it’s helping keep Christmas merchandise out of your face for a few merciful weeks.
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DIRECTIONS: The pumpkin fest is held on the enormous grounds of the Bluehendes Barock, a palace in downtown Ludwigsburg.
TIMES: The palace grounds are open 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; times vary for individual attractions.
COSTS: Entrance to the palace grounds is nine euros for adults and half price for children 15 and under, and students. Family cards are available starting at 17 euros.
FOOD: Many pumpkin-infused treats are available for purchase.
INFORMATION: Online: blueba.de/en/pumpkin-exhibition.html