International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 14-16th, 2018

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

Click here for the festival program (subject to change)

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 annual festival took place in 2017 and was 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. 

We would like to thank all of our sponsors and community partners as part of the 2017 festival. Details are in the works for 2018 and will be released as more information is available.  We look forward to seeing everyone again at the 2nd Annual International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival! 

If you would like to be a part of the 2018 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. 

2018 Main Stage Line Up

Friday, Sept. 14th
Saturday, Sept. 15th
Sunday, Sept. 16th
12:00-1:00pm Opening Proclimation

12:00-12:30pm Brother Tsway - Comedian

11:00am-12:00pm Freistadt Alte Kameraden Polka Band

1:00-3:00pm Patchouli
The duo of the band Patchouli plays guitar and sings on the main stage.
12:30-1:00pm Hmong Dance Groups

12:00-12:30pm Fashion Show

3:15-3:35pm Brother Tsway - Comedian

1:00-1:30pm Bian Lian Chinese Mask Changer

12:30-3:00pm Freistadt Alte Kameraden Polka Band

3:35-4:00pm Bian Lian Chinese Mask Changer

1:30-3:30pm Mascot Theory

4:30-6:30pm Kyle Megna and the Monsoons

3:45-4:15pm Traditional Chinese Lion Dance

7:00-9:00pm Spicy Tie Band

3:45-4:15pm Bian Lian Chinese Mask Changer

In between the Chinese Lion Dance/Mask Changer and the Allen Brothers we will be announcing the winners of the International Wisconsin Poster Art Exhibit as well as the winners of the Charity Auction. We will also be introducing the winner of the Top Chef Competition. 

4:30-6:30pm Allen Brothers

7:00-9:00pm Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo


Festival Activities

Fall Chairlift Rides
Visit Granite Peak Ski Hill from 11-2 on Sunday, Sept. 16th to take a ride on the chairlift to view the fall colors! At the top get off and take in the view of the greater Wausau area.

Shuttle service will be available from the 400 block.

Must have festival program to ride! 

Children's Activities
Visit the Wausau Children's Museum for Children's Activites during the festival. The museum will be hosting special events on the 400 block during the entire weekend.

On Friday, Alice-In-Dairyland will be making a special appearance to read a story at 1:30pm.

Activities will be held Friday and Saturday from 12-5pm and Sunday from 12-4pm. 

Swap Meet & Consignment Auction
Visit the Edgar Antique Steam & Gas Engine Club on Friday and Saturday for their 2nd Annual Swap Meet and Consignment Auction. Gates open at 7am each day. The Swap Meet will take place Friday and Saturday from 9am-5pm and the Auction will be held Saturday at 9am. A pancake breakfast is also available Saturday morning. Click here for more information.

Shuttle Service will be available from the 400 block. 

Guests at Fromm Farm taking a historical tour.
Historic Tours of Fromm Farm
Visit Fromm Farm in Hamburg, WI to learn about how the Ginseng Industry began in Wisconsin. Walk along this historic tour and hear the many rich stories about ginseng farming in Wisconsin.

Sign up link for the tours https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fromm-farm-iwgf-tour-tickets-48332107635. Tours are accessible by shuttle service only!

Dig your own ginseng root!
Visit Heil's Ginseng field on Friday from 2-4pm, Saturday from 12pm-2pm, or Sunday from 11-2pm. Shuttle service will be available or drive yourself. 3855 Bluebird Lane, Edgar, WI 54426

Visit Hsu's Ginseng field on Saturday from 1-3pm. Available by shuttle or drive yourself! Use code 86PGXGQH+PX in google maps for directions. (4780 WI Hwy 52, Wausau)

Root Run 5K
Join us in Marathon City on Saturday morning to participate in our Root Run 5K. Run or walk the scenic 3.1 miles in the city rich with ginseng history. Participants will receive a root run 5K t-shirt and age group award prizes will be given out also!

The race will begin at 10am. Register Here

Cooking Demonstrations
On Saturday and Sunday at the Robert W. Monk Gardens outdoor catering kitchen attend various cooking demonstrations to learn how to cook with ginseng and to sample the freshly prepared meals.

10:30am - Chef TBD
12:00pm - Chef Nate Bychinski from Red Eye Brewing Company
1:30pm - Chef Davido Lorio from Thrive Foodery

10:30am - Cody Heidmann from Sconni's
12:00pm - Chef Jack Lee - Hollywood Chef
1:30pm - Chef Justin Wester from City Grill

Educational Seminars - Sponsored by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Want to know more about ginseng? Attend some of our educational seminars on Friday or Saturday of the festival. The seminars will take place in the beautiful Loft Gallery located within the Center for Visual Arts which overlooks the 400 block.

9:00AM - Ginseng Standards presented by Dr. James Lee of Wellhead Biological Technology Corp.
1:00PM - Ginseng Medicine presented by Paul Hsu of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprise
2:30PM - How Wisconsin Ginseng Gets to Chinese Consumers presented by Nan Lee of TRT Health

1:00PM - Ginseng Medicine presented by Ming Tao Jiang of Marathon Ginseng
2:00PM - E-Commerce and the Future of Ginseng presented by Will Hsu of Hsu's Ginseng Enterprise
3:00PM - Ginseng Q&A Session presented by the Ginseng Board of Wisconsin and DATCAP

Whitewater Kayaking
This class is designated for the person who has always wanted to try whitewater kayaking. A 2.5 hour introduction to whitewater kayaking instruction class begins with complete gear outfitting and basic safety instruction. The instructor will begin on flat water and progress to the whitewater course with instruction of paddling techniques, ferrying, and peel ins/outs. Classes will begin by fitting students for gear and boats.

To register email ginseng@visitwausau.com spots are available for Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am each day.

Top Chef Competition
Located in the Great Hall of the Grand Theater join us on Saturday to watch local chefs compete to be crowned Ginseng Festival's Top Chef. The competition will be lead by Chef Jack Lee (http://www.chefjacklee.com/)

Competition will be open for public viewing from 1-3pm.

To register to be a contestant please email ginseng@visitwausau.com

Join us Saturday and Sunday from 9-10am for a relaxing yoga flow on
the 400 block. Saturday’s session will be lead by Karla Schneider and
Sunday’s session will be lead by Katie Ziemann. Both are instructors
from Croi Croga Studio in Wausau. No experience is necessary as
classes will be structured for all abilities. Please bring your own
yoga mat.

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

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