Pumpkin festivals are one of my favourite fall events. These extravaganzas offer plenty of fun-filled activities, unique pumpkin art and loads of scrumptious pumpkin-inspired food.
From the biggest pumpkin festival in the world to smaller pumpkin carnivals, they all have one thing in common: they are FUN. These festivals are brimming with pumpkin-filled adventures, competitions and cuisine that not just kids will love but adults too.
Pumpkins are everywhere during fall. They decorate homes, can be carved into jack o lanterns, and even become part of Halloween costumes. But how many people really know where these giant pumpkins came from?
In fact, most Americans have never heard of the world’s largest pumpkin festival. It takes place every year in North Carolina and draws over 100,000 visitors. This event has been going strong since 1881, and it’s only growing bigger each year.
I’m not sure why this event hasn’t gotten more attention. Maybe because it’s located in the middle of nowhere? Or maybe because it doesn’t fit with our culture of “bigger is better”?
Whatever the reason, I decided to find out more about this amazing event as I was organizing my pumpkin displays. And after researching it, I’ve got a few ideas for making your next big event something special.
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The first time I went to a pumpkin festival was a few years ago and I must admit I was reluctant. At the time, I was convinced that the festival was strictly a kids zone and wouldn’t have anything that would interest me.
I never thought I would enjoy it quite as much as I did. Indeed, it’s one special fall entertainment!
Since then, I have made it a point to visit a pumpkin festival whenever I can. I was also excited to learn that there were many similar festivals in other places in the world besides Germany.
Here are 5 pumpkin festivals from around the world:
1 Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival, Germany
The largest pumpkin festival in the world happens annually at Schloss Ludwigsburg in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Schloss Ludwigsburg is located just 17km north of Stuttgart and is the perfect place for a day trip, especially for the festival.
You can enjoy a selection of events that include live music, pumpkin carving, pumpkin smashing and plenty of food vendors and wine stalls. The festival is well-known for its amazing pumpkin art that follows the theme each year.
Expect to see life-sized detailed pumpkin figures that range from farm animals to sea mammals and even dinosaurs, depending on the theme of the year.
This event draws thousands of visitors each year who come to watch the festivities and sample local foods. Be prepared for a food galore haven.
One of my favourites finds at the festival was pumpkin wine, which may sound crazy but I promise it’s delicious. The festival happens each year between late August and early December and is themed.
For 2021 the theme is Under the Sea. While you’re there, I highly recommend taking a tour of the palace as it’s one of the most beautiful in Germany.
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2 The Great Pumpkin Carnival in Hamilton, New Zealand
The Great Pumpkin Carnival is held every October at the Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand and offers different forms of family entertainment. The festival features pumpkin carving competitions, live music, food vendors, carnival rides, and more.
When it comes to pumpkin festivals, this is not one of the oldest, but it’s one of the fastest-growing and the most fun. It’s also home to many firsts in New Zealand.
In 2021, the biggest pumpkin competition was won by a contestant with a huge 844kg pumpkin. That’s pretty big as far as pumpkins go.
When it comes to pumpkin festivals, this is not one of the oldest, but it’s one of the fastest-growing and the most fun. It’s also home to many firsts in New Zealand. In 2021, the biggest pumpkin competition was won by a contestant with a huge 844kg pumpkin. That’s pretty big as far as pumpkins go.
This event attracts over 30,000 visitors each year, making it one of the largest festivals in New Zealand. While there, you should try out the pumpkin boats that you can row on Turtle Lake or take part in one of the other fun races that happen on the day.
Other events include a pumpkin baking competition, pumpkin art creation and plenty of inspiring food trucks where you can pick up something yummy. The carnival happens each year around March, so if you’re in the neighbourhood stop by for a day of fun.
This event attracts thousands of visitors each year, making it a great opportunity for local businesses to reach out to this large crowd of potential customers.
3 The Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, Queensland Australia
The Goomeri Pumpkin festival is held every October at the Goomeri Showgrounds near Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. The event attracts thousands of visitors each year, including many tourists who come from overseas.
Probably one of the most famous fall events in Australia, the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival was established in 1997 to help increase morale in a drought-stricken region.
Since then, it has grown into one of the largest festivals in the country and the home of The Great Australian Pumpkin Roll. The event is just rolling pumpkins down a hill, but it looks and sounds like loads of fun.
This is a great opportunity to showcase your skills and knowledge to a large audience. This is especially true if you’re a food blogger who specializes in pumpkin recipes.
If you’ve never been to this type of event, you may be surprised by the number of people attending. There are usually several stages set up where local performers perform music, dance, comedy, magic, etc., and there are plenty of stalls selling everything from arts and crafts to food and drink.
There are also plenty of activities for kids, such as face painting, balloon sculpting, and games. And everyone loves free samples!
One of the most popular attractions is the ‘pumpkin race’. Participants run through a course carrying a huge pumpkin on their shoulders. They must complete the course within a certain amount of time, and the winner receives a prize.
Another popular activity is the ‘pumpkin’ contest. Each contestant takes turns carving a pumpkin into a different shape. After the last person finishes carving, the judges decide which design was the best.
And finally, there’s the ‘pumpkin pie eating contest.’ Contestants take turns trying to eat the biggest slice of pumpkin pie. The winner is decided based on the size of his stomach when he finishes eating the pie.
You can also expect a pumpkin-inspired high-energy parade, great food and craft stalls and plenty of pumpkin-inspired competitions. The competitions even include one called the Pumpkin Power Shot Put, where contestants throw a pumpkin as far as they can. This carnival usually happens on a weekend in late May each year.
At the end of the day, the main attraction is the giant carved pumpkins weighing over 100 kg (220 lbs) that are carved with great detail into fantastic shapes. Visitors can watch these creations being created live, and some of them are truly amazing.
4. Avon Valley’s Pumpkin Patch Festival, Bristol England
This festival takes place every October at Avon Valley’s Pumpkin Patch in Bristol, England. The event features live music, food vendors, pumpkin carving contests, face painting, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, and games.
There are three main stages where local bands play throughout the day. There are also several craft stalls selling handmade goods, including jewellery, pottery, woodwork, and paintings.
If you’re looking for a unique experience, this is the perfect opportunity to visit the UK.
From picking pumpkins in the pumpkin patch to pop-up bars, street food and exciting pumpkin paintball, this is the festival to be at if you’re in the area.
The event runs from 10 am until 5 pm each day. Festival admission is free, but parking costs £5 per car.
There are plenty of things to keep adults and kids busy for hours at a time. Just make sure there is supervision with kids’ attractions when you go.
You can enjoy some Halloween-inspired activities like Scarecrow Shoot-em. In 2021, this pumpkin festival will take place from the 8th to the 27th of October.
5. The Great Pumpkin Farm Festival, Clarence, New York
There are plenty of pumpkin festivals to visit in the U.S that offer great activities and atmosphere. The Great Pumpkin Farm Festival in Clarence, New York is one of the most popular though and is well worth a visit.
This festival features classic pumpkin carving contests, hayrides, corn maze tours, a petting zoo, food truck, live entertainment, and more. There are many activities for children, including face painting, balloon animals, crafts, and games.
There are also several attractions for adults, including pumpkin bowling, pumpkin golf, pumpkin bingo, pumpkin darts, pumpkin beer tasting, and pumpkin pie eating contests.
The festival is a mix of fall fun and Halloween spectacles that kids and adults will love. Some of the best activities include a ride on a zombie paintball train, the boo barn that will leave you shaking, and a super fun pumpkin cannon.
There are also plenty of food stalls in the pumpkin palace. Here you will find pumpkin-inspired cuisine as well as a pumpkin park with amusements all around and an exciting hay maze to keep you busy. These kinds of amazing entertainment are sure to be a favourite among kids and kids at heart.
It’s the perfect place to spend a day or weekend, whether you have kids or not. The festival takes place annually between September to late October.
Tickets are $10 per person. Admission for children 5 years old and younger are free. Admission tickets include a pass to the farm, hayride, petting zoo, craft area, and food court. Tickets may be purchased online or at the gate.
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What to Try if you can’t Visit a Pumpkin Festival
If you can’t make it to a pumpkin festival near you, you can still bring some pumpkin festivities home with you. Check out these great pumpkin products:
There is nothing quite like a warm spiced pumpkin drink in fall. This flavoured ground coffee will fill your home with pumpkin festival aromas. Pair it with your favourite spiced pumpkin pie and enjoy. You can also purchase this flavour in Keurig compatible pods.
There is no better way to make your house smell like sugar, spice and all things fall than by lighting a pumpkin scented candle. Yankee candles are some of my favourites and you can’t go wrong with this warm and wonderful scent.
Not a coffee lover? No problem. This pumpkin-favoured tea is the perfect alternative and is the perfect fall indulgence. You’ll feel all the good pumpkin festival vibes from the comfort of your home.
There is nothing quite like novelty foods to make any themed dinner perfect. These are not only shaped like squash but are also pumpkin flavoured.
If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie, this spiced pudding by JELL-O is perfect. You can make it on its own as a dessert or use it as a topping for your spiced pumpkin pie. Either way, you’ll love the festive feel it brings to your home.