When we found out that the Ludwigsburg Palace has an annual pumpkin festival, how could we possibly resist?!
The festival boasts that it is the world’s largest pumpkin festival, with 400,000 pumpkins and over 450 varieties on display. Each year they pick a theme—last year it was dinosaurs (which looked awesome), and this year it was Switzerland (kind of weird).
I imagine it’s easy to build displays when your theme is dinosaurs…but I’m guessing they found it a bit trickier to dream up displays for “Switzerland”.
Here’s what they came up with:
They started with the typical livestock and animals seen all over Switzerland…
Not part of the pumpkin displays…but I do love the swirly-patterned shrubbery found in Europe!
The fountains were even festive!
They have a children’s play area full of hay…and you should have seen these kids going at it (throwing hay over their heads, rolling around, etc). My husband grew up on a dairy farm, and hay was a part of his daily life. He insisted our kids would NOT be playing with that itchy, irritating stuff!
More cows. Yes, Switzerland does have a lot of cows!
Nice wooden paths made it easy to push a stroller around.
Can you even begin to guess what this one is?
It’s Edelweiss! It’s Switzerland’s most famous flower (remember the ballad from “The Sound of Music” about it?), which grows high up in the Alps!
And how do you build a mountain out of pumpkins? They figured out a way…
And can you guess this one?
I sure couldn’t…and I had to look it up at home to make any sense of it! It is the Rütlischwur, “a legendary oath of the Old Swiss Confederacy”.
Umm…okay? Like I said…I think they may have struggled with this theme a little bit
Another cool feature of the Ludwigswurg Palace is their permanent Fairy Tale Garden, Märchengarten.
Here you see about 30 different fairy tales on display, scattered throughout the immense corner of the property. Many of the fairy tales are housed in little miniature cabins, and after the press of a button, the fairy tale comes to life (in German). I don’t know the story of this one…do you?
One crowd favorite was a large booth that you entered, and had to say (in German) the “Mirror, mirror, on the wall” quote from Snow White. If you spoke it loudly enough, the mirror in front of you would come to life with the magic mirror speaking back.
Problem was—no one could seem to get it to go. Person after person would step up to say the German quote as loudly as they could (the sign did say to speak loudly), then when nothing happened they’d resort to stomping, knocking on the mirror, trying to find a button, etc. Suddenly—it would spring to life—and no one could figure out why it worked that time, and not other times.
It would be a fascinating study of humans to sit on the other side of that mirror and watch all of these crazy fools (myself included)!!
One “cave” housed the Arabian Nights and the story of Aladdin.
I’m not sure which fairy tale this was…but this was a highly sought-after free attraction. The girls waited patiently in a long line, eagerly anticipating their opportunity to walk across the little bridge, sit in this lily-pad thing, and then get pushed upward in the seat while fountains started around them. It was slow, boring, and all of the kids in the lily pad seat bore an awkward smile somewhere between self-consciousness and boredom before being lowered again.
We waited a good 15 minutes to let them go on this slow-moving attraction!
There was a cute little boat ride that went around some of the fairy tales and then into the mouth of a whale (Pinocchio), but we opted out of the massive line.
We did, however, enjoy the small train ride (for a reasonable fee) that circled part of the Fairy Tale land.
In the background is Rapunzel’s tower—which is easily accessed by a small stairwell in the mountainside.
I think it’s cute how they use a mix of carved wood with the pumpkins to make the displays.
I had to look up “famous Switzerland animals” online to figure this one out. Apparently, they are Alpine Marmots!
The gardens include this funky little cave/tunnel that leads you from one part of the gardens into a little aviary where you could see a small collection of birds and ducks.
All in all, it was a journey well worth it to enjoy this fun Fall festivity, as well as see another German palace (from the outside, that is)!
They sure knew how to build them!