Festival: International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival

Festival: International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival

Event showcases ginseng agriculture, cooking, education, history, arts and entertainment

Published: Friday, June 9, 2017

Event date: 9/15/2017 - 9/17/2017 Export event

The festival will take place over three days, September 15-17, 2017 at downtown Wausau’s 400 Block city square park and along adjoining streets. Additionally, a variety of tours, demonstrations and other activities will be offered at several locations throughout the area, with shuttle buses transporting attendees to the many off-site attractions. Festival attendees will receive maps and programs outlining the schedule of activities.

This multi-faceted event will have broad appeal, with agricultural, culinary, educational, historical, arts and entertainment aspects being showcased. The festival will also feature 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. Outlined are the variety of activities that will take place during the festival.

Main Event Location

Downtown Wausau's 400 Block City Square Park

400 Block vendors selling a variety of ginseng food and beverages.

Traditional Hmong and Native American foods.

Wisconsin favorites including cheese curds and brats.

Entertainment on the main stage including music and other performances.

Wausau Children's Museum-Interactive Ginseng Field Exhibit with Partners for Progressive Agriculture Marathon County

Juried vendors with art and items for purchase.

Hands on activities for children relating to ginseng.

Downtown shops and restaurants will participate with special offers and ginseng related food and beverages.

Off Site Locations

Dig It, Keep It! Dig Your Own Root:

Hsu's Ginseng Farm (4707 McIntosh St, Wausau, WI 54403)
Sept. 16, 1:00-3:00 pm

Heil Ginseng Field (2670 Hwy H, Edgar, WI 54426)
Sept. 15, 3:00-5:00 pm
Sept. 16, 11:00 am-1:00 pm
Sept. 17, 12:00-2:00 pm

Commemorative coins and an opportunity to sign the vintage log book of visitors at the 45x90 Geographic Marker. It is the location of the 45th parallel; the exact point half-way between the Equator and the North Pole and half-way between the Greenwich Meridian and the International Dateline. Geographically, it is a location of significance to ginseng cultivation, as the climate and area geology are key components.

Historical Exhibits, Tours and More:

Exhibit showcasing the evolution of ginseng in Marathon County at the Marathon County Historical Museum. Historical reenactment at Fromm Farm (436 Co Rd F, Hamburg, WI 54411), where ginseng farming in Wisconsin began; Sept. 16, Noon-4:00 pm Event at Janke Book Store featuring the book Bright With Silver, which chronicles the rise of the United States ginseng industry through the story of the Fromm brothers.

Arts and Entertainment

Festival poster art contest by the Center for the Visual Arts will take place in advance of the festival. Stop in before 2:00 pm on Sept. 16 and cast your vote for The People's Choice!

Visit the World Renowned Birds in Art Exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

Seminars and Demonstrations

Cooking with ginseng demonstrations at Robert W. Monk Gardens in the outdoor catering kitchen and tours featuring the wild ginseng that is grown in the gardens; Sept. 16 & 17

Recreational Activities

5K Ginseng Root Run at Veterans Park, Marathon City (204 E 4th St, Marathon City, WI 54448); Sept. 16, 10:00 am. Sign up here. Kayaking at downtown Wausau’s championship White Water Park through the Wausau Kayak & Canoe Corp. recreational release program. View the fall colors on the Comet Chairlift Rides at Granite Peak Ski Area, free for festival-goers; Sept. 16, 10:00 am-2:00 pm. Fun Ride at Harley-Davidson of Wausau in conjunction with the Tomahawk Fall Colors Ride.

History of Ginseng in Marathon County

Ginseng cultivation began in the late 1800s 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.

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