When we think of pumpkins – we always imagine the classic Jack-o-lantern. Well did you know this is an Irish-American merger of types? Centuries ago, Irish people would carve the classic lanterns from potatoes or turnips – which, of course, the Irish are famous for. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants landed in America that they came upon the pumpkin.
And, of course, this fruit made a far better lantern, than any potato could. And thus the pumpkin became synonymous with Halloween. In Ireland, it is customary to head to a pumpkin farm or patch in late October or early November to choose your pumpkin. There at these farms, events are put on where children can enjoy carving their lantern, then and there.
These pumpkin days out are festivals in it of themselves. There are lots of pumpkin patches and farms to choose from in Ireland which has various activities put on. It makes sense to head to your local farm, so check out details at the bottom of this page!
However, it’s not just jack-o’-lanterns for which pumpkins are celebrated.
Pumpkins are feeders, in terms of how they grow. The more manure and nutrients you add to your potting soil, as well as clever ways of establishing new varieties of pumpkins, and the bigger these squashes will grow.
Gardeners might have the reputation of being solitary types but they are also uber-competitive. Growers who want to show off their prized pumpkins have led the rise of pumpkin festivals globally.
You’ll find that many pumpkin festivals are located in the US where they are major global pumpkin growers.
Illinois is the pumpkin capital of America. In this state, you’ll find festivals such as the Ackerman Family Farms, in the town of Morton. Morton is pumpkin central and where you’ll find the biggest pumpkin factory in the world.
In Morton, a town that thrives on the pumpkin industry, you’ll find they know all about pumpkins. At the festival, pumpkins are measured, weighed, rolled, carved, cooked, baked, and decorated. You can feast on pumpkin soup, shakes, smoothies, cookies, muffins, pancakes, chili, salads, breads, pasta, and more.
If your in the big apple at Halloween time, then you just have to visit this spectacle. The grounds of the Van Cortlandt Manor are illuminated with thousands of intricately carved pumpkins. There’s even a pumpkin Statue of Liberty and a fully functioning pumpkin carousel to enjoy. But it’s not just the US where the pumpkin is celebrated.
In Budapest, they have a Pumpkin Festival at the iconic Heroes Square. The aim of this festival is to show off the best-carved pumpkins and collect food for children and others in need. The Budapest Jack-o’-lantern Festival is a popular destination for locals and tourists where you can enjoy the sites of the city with the jack-o’-lantern display as a backdrop.
This popular festival is celebrated just on the outskirts of the city of Stuttgart in Germany. This is the world’s largest pumpkin festival. And you’ll find over 450,000 pumpkins with over 800 different types. There are carved pumpkins to see as well as tasty pumpkin treats. Keep warm by enjoying pumpkin soup, of course!
But hey if you are looking for a local pumpkin patch to pick up your pumpkins, then here are a few great ones. Do remember though when carving your jack-o’-lantern, to keep your pumpkin flesh. Store it in a container and then when you get home make a wonderful pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup. You’ll find so many ways of cooking with pumpkins on other pages and our blog is packed with pumpkin recipes.
🎃 Alright Pumpkin, Fordstown, Co. Meath
🎃 Ballycross Apple farm in Bridgetown, Co Wexford.
🎃 Ladyrath Pumpkin Patch, Wilkinstown, Navan, Co. Meath
🎃 Tinahely Farm, Tinahely, Co Wicklow
🎃 The Farm in Grenagh, Co. Cork
🎃 Wooly Wards Farm, North County Dublin