Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hitscherhof Pumpkin Festival

September 24, 2015:

Alex and I never really meant to, but we have somehow gotten ourselves into the tradition of taking the kids to pumpkin patches every fall. Back home, we took the kids to this local church's patch and then we'd follow it up with a popular corn maze. It was always simple and fun and to me it put me in the "fall" mood. (That was about the only way you were going to get into the autumn spirit in Florida. Surely the 90 degree weather wasn't going to do it.)

So, naturally, when September rolled around I went on the hunt for some kind of fall festival to attend. There was one that boasted 4,000+ pumpkins, but unfortunately it was about 3.5 hours away from us.
I love my kids.
But not drive 7 hours in one day for a pumpkin they can't even carve themselves yet love.

Then, I read about the Hitscherhof Pumpkin Festival and it sounded like just the thing.

It was about an hour and a half's drive to get there. Alex and I are early birds, so we always try to get to events near opening time, in the hopes that the crowds won't be as heavy. And fortunately for us, I think that was exactly what happened that weekend. We arrived around 11:30 and already the parking lots were filling up.

I noticed two things about this particular festival.
The first was that the Germans had taken note from American events and charged for EVERYTHING. We paid 3 Euro for parking, which wasn't a big deal, but it was the first time we encountered that since moving here. We also paid for the bathroom. At other festivals, like Pig Fest, there was a bathroom that charged you, but there were also porta potties around in case you didn't want to pay. But at the pumpkin fest you only had the one option.
And when you've got a 3 year old who's 95% of the way potty trained that could get expensive.

"I have to go!'
"Wait, nevermind, I don't, get me out of the stall."
"Now I HAVE TO!"


The second thing Alex and I noticed while we were there was how many Americans attended the event.
For the very first time here in Germany, I felt like I was back in the states. Everyone around me was speaking English, and everybody was acting very American. (Which wasn't necessarily a good thing.) It kind of shocked Alex and myself. We hadn't been in that kind of environment in 5 months.

It made the whole day seem louder and more hectic than usual.



As I've come to expect, when we first walked into the area, there were a ton of market stalls set up with anything and everything you could imagine along with tons of food stations. Alex and I took a quick peek around, but our first order of business at any place is finding the main food location. We try to eat, fill the kids' bellies full of items they don't typically get to have, and hope they'll be in a carb coma long enough to let us explore the goods on sale.

There was a wooden building near the back that held a bunch of food vendors, so after taking some photographs of the kids with pumpkins, Alex and I went inside and miraculously found a table to eat at. We managed to sit down next to Alex's old commander from his last deployment, so that was a fun run-in. It's incredible how many people Alex has managed to see and reconnect with over the years.

I had heard nothing but good things about the pumpkin soup that was sold at this festival, so I decided to get us a smorgasbord of stuff that we could all try and share.

There was the aforementioned soup, a flatbread pizza (wonder who needed that dish, couldn't possibly have been the picky child) and a bratwurst.

 

The pumpkin soup was delicious! It was everything I'd hoped it be and more; even Evie ate several spoonfuls (minus the seeds, of course). The other items were decent, but a tad bit overpriced in my open. A 6.5 Euro flatbread (11.5 if you didn't turn in the board)...we get better and larger pizzas for the same price at our local Italian restaurant.


When lunch was finished, Alex let Landon play on some hay for a short while to burn off some energy, then we put the kids in the stroller and went for a look around.
I ended up buying a handmade basket for 20 Euros. I think it's wonderful, and I feel like it's very adult-ish.



Like, every house I ever visited growing up had a version of this basket somewhere in the home. Whether it be for decorations (like filling it with ornaments in the winter or pine cones and gourds in the fall) or practical (a trapper keeper of household knickknacks) every house had one.
Think about it.

Doesn't it scream "I'm a grown adult running a home?!"
Sometimes, I still feel so young and unsophisticaed.
And then sometimes, I buy something that screams my mother and realize I'm getting older by the day.

*sigh*



In addition to the basket, Alex found a lady selling handmade puzzles, and since Landon's been in a puzzle kick lately, we riffled through a pile until we found one we could give him for Christmas.
It was cute and less than 10 Euros, and it will hopefully be something that lasts until he brings his kids to visit and we can let them play with it.
(Like the turtle puzzle Landon was obsessed with at his Mimi's house.)

We also had to get the giraffe one to go with my other tchotchkes. It would fit right in with deployment giraffe, my Animal Kingdom lodge giraffe salt/pepper shakers, my giraffe earmuffs from the Nebraska zoo, and my giraffe plate from the Melbourne (FL) area.





Alex and I called it quits around 1pm. Landon asked for some ice cream, but we didn't feel like standing in another line to get some, so we fibbed a little and told him they wasn't any there.
Another mom heard me and turned around and laughed.

Don't ruin this for me, Fellow Mom.


We weren't completely terrible parents for deceiving our sweet little 3 year old, though, because we took him to Ramstein and got him some Baskin Robbins. Alex and I needed to check to see if they had some stuff our base didn't have, and we saw that the carseat we were planning on purchasing was on sale, so it was nice to get that knocked out.
(We needed another small carseat like Landon's spare for our trip to London....which is only 3 weeks away!!!)



All in all, I am glad we went and kept the tradition of taking pumpkin pictures of the kids alive, but I did experience a little sticker shock in the process. I imagine if there's nothing else nearby by next year, we'll go back just for the atmosphere. (And the soup.) There was a pumpkin wine, pumpkin waffles, and a pumpkin soda that we might be able to give a shot, too.

And so, to wrap up this post, I'll end it with the obligatory shot of the kids.




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