We love Kürbisfest. This is the third year that we went to the one just outside of Vienna at Am Himmel, which this year was held the last weekend of October. (Our first October, we also made the trek to Retz for the Kürbisfest there, and we planned to go back last year but got rained out. This year, we kept it simple and just went to Am Himmel.) Each time, it’s been just lovely, and now, after having been 3 times, we feel like we’re starting to master the art of attending this particular Kürbisfest.
In German, a Kürbis is a pumpkin, so Kürbisfest is, principally, a pumpkin festival. It’s more than that, too, though. Besides the crates of pumpkins and gourds, the long tables set out for pumpkin carving, the pumpkin soup, pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin bread, pumpkin sausage and pumpkin seed pesto, there are all kinds of other vendors selling apples, grapes, candles, knit items, juices, ciders, wines and meats. There are polka bands, face painting and kite-making tents. There’s certainly a lot to do with pumpkins, but it’s really a celebration of everything autumnal from in and around Vienna. And it’s pretty fantastic.
This year, the day started cool and foggy, so we bundled up in the morning. By the time we got out to the hills beyond Vienna, though, the fog had started to burn off and it got really quite warm. We walked through the festival, and took in all of our favorite parts. The boys chose pumpkins. Benjamin got his face painted (he went for an orange dragon this year — Liam opted out). We all had some of our favorite Lángos (made fresh, and covered with garlic and pumpkin seed pesto) and some pumpkin soup. We scooped and carved the pumpkins we had bought. We shopped for Styrian ham and pumpkin seed sausage, as well as pumpkin seed pesto (which is my absolute favorite). We sampled some fresh apple and grape juices while listening to live polka music and finally finished up with a stop at the playground, and then dragged ourselves back to the center of the city, exhausted but very happy with our day, and feeling very seasonally appropriate.
This year, for the first time, we started to feel like we’d figured out some important things. We went first thing in the morning (always our goal, but this year we actually managed it). We made the playground the last stop in our day, not the first, so the kids weren’t worn out until it was time to leave. We brought a backpack and a shopping bag to carry our purchases, and we hollowed out our pumpkins before carrying them home. All important lessons, learned over the years!
This year, we truly had another great time. It was a great day, and going to the Kürbisfest has become one of my favorite Vienna traditions.