International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 18-20th, 2020

Friday: 12pm-9pm
Saturday: 12pm-9pm
Sunday: 11am-4pm

This multi-faceted event has broad appeal, with agricultural, culinary, educational, historical, arts, and entertainment aspects being showcased.  The festival also features multicultural aspects, as the Hmong and Native American communities have significant influences on ginseng production.  By working closely with the Native American liaison as well as the local Hmong American Center, the festival will incorporate elements such as traditional dance, foods, and the history of ginseng within their cultures. 

Ginseng cultivation began in the late 1800's at the turn of the 20th century in Marathon County by the Fromm Brothers, but has been used in eastern cultures for its healing properties for over 5,000 years.  Today, the capital of the United States ginseng industry is in Marathon County, Wisconsin.  There are over 185 ginseng producers in the county and 95% of the ginseng root exported from the United States comes from Central Wisconsin.  The rolling hills, virgin soil, and cool summers grow unique roots very high in ginsenosides (the active compound in ginseng).  These properties make Wisconsin ginseng known as the premier cultivation in the world.  As you drive around Marathon County in the warm weather seasons, you’ll see tarp-covered fields protecting ginseng plants from direct sunlight.  The berries turn red in August and are harvested in September.  The roots are harvested in October and are used in a variety of products including health and beauty products, teas, beverages, candies and much more.  The recent resurgence in the interest of ginseng has created great demand in this ever-evolving market of the crop. 

The first two years of the Ginseng Festival were a hit! From digging a ginseng root to trying the food and beverage, festival goers were able to immerse all their senses in ginseng.  The festival hub was located in downtown Wausau at the 400 block.  There you could find vendors, food, beverages, non-stop entertainment, art, and much more.  However, the festival extended beyond this area reaching county wide.  Attendees were able to travel to ginseng fields to experience digging a ginseng root, visit the 45 x 90 geographical marker, head to Fromm Farm to learn about how ginseng farming began in Wisconsin, or catch a cooking demonstration at the local Robert W. Monk Gardens in their outdoor catering kitchen.  The festival brought together the community with something for everyone, and also gave international guests a chance to experience Midwestern hospitality and see how the ginseng operations work. 

The festival is taking a break in 2019 but only to prepare and come back bigger than ever in 2020!

We would like to thank all of our sponsors and community partners as part of the 2018 festival. Details are in the works for 2020 and will be released as more information is available.  We look forward to seeing everyone again at the 3rd Annual International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival! 

If you would like to be a part of the 2020 International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival please contact us at ginseng@visitwausau.com.  We have plenty of sponsorship opportunities available as well as vendor and community partner opportunities. 

For a full image gallery from the 2017 International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival Click Here

For a full image gallery from the 2018 International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival Click Here

Guests listening intently to the history of Ginseng at Fromm Farm.
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