Ginseng Fest highlights

A ton of events happen this weekend Sept. 15-17, so pick up a festival program, or go to for details. Here are some highlights:

Mainstage Entertainment (400 Block) 


Plus nearly 30 food and beverage vendors


1-2:30 pm Brad Emanuel

3-4:30 Patchouli

5-7 The Playlist


10-10:30 am ReUnited Hmong Male Dance Group

11 am-12:30 pm Mike Maher Band

12:30 Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch

1:00 pm Open Tab

2:45 pm Chinese Lion Dance

3:00 pm Lor Chang

5-7 pm Spicy Tie Band


11 am Was-ira Show

12:30 pm Catfish & Caviar

2:30 pm Hmong Dance Group

Granite Peak Chairlift rides

Sat. 10 am-2 pm | Free with fest program

Why you should go: Granite Peak Ski Area holds chairlift rides for nearly a month each fall, but is opening a week early to festivalgoers. Check out the early fall colors, and maybe stop at the top to hike some trails in beautiful Rib Mountain State Park. During the normal fall chairlift rides (which begin Sept. 23) you’d pay $11. It’s free Saturday when you make it part of your fest-going, and present the printed program.

5k Root Run

Veteran’s Park, Marathon City

10 am Sat.; 8:30-9:45 am registration

Why you should go: Marathon City is the epicenter for ginseng in Marathon County. The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin is based there, while the Ginseng Herb and Co-Op is right outside of town. The 5k Root Run takes you past some ginseng fields and through the grounds of St. Anthony Spirituality Center. Great Dane Brewing provides a ginseng-infused beer for those of age. $16.50 pre-register, $20 day of. See

Cooking demonstrations and tours

Sat. & Sun. | Monk Botanical Gardens 


Why you should go: Some of the best chefs around the Wausau area are putting ginseng in various dishes, all while showing off the new outdoor kitchen at Monk Gardens. The free, hour-long demos happen both days:

Saturday: 10:30 am, Nathan Bychinski of Red Eye Brewing Co.; noon, John Greene of Wausau Country Club; 2 pm, Brian Fruend of Polito’s Pizza.

Sunday: 12:30 pm David Lorio of Thrive; 1:30 pm New Chee Lor of Newch’s Bahn Mi.

Get your tastebuds ready. Monk Gardens Executive Director Darcie Howard says Lorio will make a pumpkin pizza with mozzarella, spinach and caramelized ginseng.

Art Exhibits

Center for the Visual Arts and Woodson Art Museum 


Why you should go: Two galleries both pulled off some impressive ginseng themed exhibits. The Woodson Art Museum’s exhibit features work from Midwest artists. And the Center for the Visual Arts’ exhibit is a collection of Wisconsin artists entries for its poster contest, and the work is more impressive and diverse than one might expect. Both exhibits are free and will make a great stop during the festival.

During the fest, the CVA is open Fri. 10 am-5 pm, Sat. noon-4 pm; Woodson Art Museum Fri. 9 am–4 pm, Sat-Sun. noon-5 pm.

Fromm Family Farm tours

Sat. 12-4 pm | Fromm Family Farm, Hamburg 


Why you should go: The Fromm Farm is considered the birthplace of cultivated ginseng in this country, and also a famed fox fur farm that developed quite luxurious buildings to cater to international buyers who visited the site. The farm recently came back into the possession of the Fromm descendants, and they’ve since been working on restorations. Tours start every 15 minutes and last about an hour as guides dressed in period clothing amaze you with facts about this important piece of local history. Free.

Shuttle buses

The drop off and pick up site for all rides is near the 400 Block at Prehn Dental, on Jefferson St. Some bus routes take up to 4 hours each, so be prepared to spend several hours at the out-of-town attractions.

On Friday, the bus goes to the 45×90 geographical marker and Heil Ginseng, both in western Marathon County.

Saturday: Bus #1 to the 45×90 marker and Heil Ginseng. Bus #2 and #3 to the 45×90 marker and the Fromm Farm. Bus #4 to Hsu’s Ginseng. Bus #5 to Granite Peak Ski for chairlift rides (multiple trips; note that other buses make one round trip).

Sunday bus to 45×90 marker and Heil Ginseng.

Not all busses visit the same locations, so refer to the festival program for the schedule.

For a full listing of events, visit the International Wisconsin Ginseng Festival website.