The Great Pumpkin (Festival)

Living in Peoria means heading to Morton, the Pumpkin Capital of the World, for the Pumpkin Festival every September. I first attended it one year in middle school with my uncle, back when the Punkin Chuckin contest was held during the festival. Then I went in 1998 and 1999 (I feel old) with the cross country team for the Morton Invitational. That got me hooked! Because you know what is really good after running a race? Pumpkin ice cream and an apple cider slushy.

As an adult, I enjoy going to the Pumpkin Fest to get some ice cream, some pumpkin pie, and… that’s pretty much it. I’m not big on buying arts and crafts; I’m not really one to ride carnival rides. But I do enjoy seasonal food!

Naturally, we weren’t going to make it to Morton for the Pumpkin Fest in 2015, so I did some Googling to see if there were any pumpkin activities around Basel. And I wasn’t disappointed!

Twenty-ish minutes outside of Basel is Bottmingen, home of Mathis-Hof farm. They grow over 250 varieties of pumpkins on their farm and have an annual Pumpkin Festival one weekend every fall.

We took the tram to Bottmingen and then had a surprisingly long walk to the farm. Google Maps underestimated the distance by quite a bit, but luckily there were a few signs along the way so that we knew we were heading in the right direction.


Pumpkin Market & Corn Maze that way – got it!

When we got to the farm, the first thing we saw was a small playground, so G (and Andy) spent some time playing.


Just thinking about riding this ride kind of makes me want to vom. (I hate spinning around.)


These two are too cute.


Found inside the playground. I love how absolutely dedicated Swiss people are to keeping dog poop in its proper place (namely, somewhere other than their grass).

There were a few other activities to look into, but the line for food was long, so we decided that we should probably tackle that first.


Andy and I both had the pumpkin soup. G had the pair of hot dogs. (She wouldn’t eat hot dogs in the US, but she loves them here.) Andy had a pumpkin beer (natch), I tried the sparkling water with elderflower syrup (verdict: doesn’t taste very good), and G had the apple juice (which was a lot like apple cider). We all had pumpkin pie, of course!

Other items of note on the menu are the “Chicken Coffee,” both because of the name and because of the pairing of coffee with apple schnapps, and the Eggnog. Eggnog is 100% alcoholic in Switzerland. This is deeply upsetting to me as I love eggnog but don’t always love drinking. (In fact, I bought a thing of eggnog in Peoria when we were staying at Sarah’s for Christmas and realized too late that I didn’t drink ANY of it. And then I was sad.)


Andy’s lunch (mine looked pretty much the same).


G and her lunch.

The pumpkin pie was good, but a lot different than pumpkin pie in the US. Not as sweet, not as spicy. It kind of reminded me of the pie I make for my mother-in-law who is allergic to cinnamon.

After lunch we decided to try out the corn maze.


We made it out… through the same way we went in. I honestly have no idea if that was right or wrong!

They also had a huge pile of hay bales for kids to climb in and on. G loved it!

After Andy removed as much hay from G as possible (I was staying far away because of my allergies), we checked out the pumpkin market.


Just a few of the varieties.

We also got some pumpkin ice cream.


It was weird. Not bad, but I prefer the soft serve in Morton.

We got a big pumpkin that we intended to use for a jack-o-lantern (but never ended up carving it because we went to Amsterdam for Halloween) as well as a small ghost pumpkin for G.

I’ll leave you with a few IG pics from that day. I look forward to heading back out to Mathis-Hof in September!



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