Uniquely Wisconsin: Marathon County

Hailey Rose

May 30, 2023

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Scattered throughout Marathon County, there are quaint local gems run by fellow Wisconsinites that set it apart from any other destination. From the awe-inspiring Hmong Wausau Festival and the tasty Stoney Acres Pizza Farm to Timekeeper distillery, it’s a county and community worth visiting. Read more to learn what makes Marathon County so special and unique.

Preserving Hmong Culture: Life After War

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Marathon County has the largest population of Hmong people per capita in the state of Wisconsin. Making up 9.1% of its population, the city of Wausau has the third largest population of Hmong people in the United States. First arriving in 1976, the Hmong people have brought vibrant life to this central Wisconsin town.

Every year, Yee Leng Xiong, director of the Hmong American Center, organizes the Hmong Wausau Festival to celebrate the incredible culture and community of Hmong people.

The Hmong Wausau Festival is now the largest annual Hmong festival in the state and draws people from across the country, particularly the Midwest. Dancing competitions, sporting events, food vendors, artists, fireworks and more highlight this celebration of the Hmong history and heritage.

Watch this Uniquely Wisconsin short here: 

Farm to Table Pizzas: The Little Red Barn

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

In Marathon County, you will find Stoney Acres Farm. This family-owned farm was once known as a traditional dairy farm but in 2006, Tony Schultz, the now owner, farmer, and head chef at Stoney Acres took his imagination and college education to become a part of the local food movement across Wisconsin and buy 80 acres of land from his parents.

“This is a place where you can experience the iconography of Wisconsin. We’ve got this little red barn on our license plate. This is that,” said Schultz. “The reason people come out to the northwest corner of Marathon County is because everything on your pizza comes from the farm. Everything is from like 750 feet away. I raise the wheat, grind the flour and make it into dough, raise tomatoes for sauce and other toppings like basil and eggplant and fennel and mushrooms. They are all just right behind you as you get this farm to table pizza baked in a wood oven on the farm.” 

Stoney Acres Farm today is known for its farm-to-table pizza experience that truly is a special piece of Marathon County. But there is more. The farm now brings organic, healthy food options to people not only in Marathon County but to those passing through as well. This farm is a destination, home, experience, and iconic red barn that you will have to take part in for yourself.

Watch this Uniquely Wisconsin short here: 

Small Business Success: Timekeeper Distillery

Photo Credit: Discover Mediaworks

Started in 2017, Timekeeper Distillery in Marathon County has a mission bigger than just serving the best spirits – they want to grow their community too. 

Owners Kimm and Dan Weber credit a lot of their success to Marathon County’s business development team, MCDEVCO. This organization helped Timekeeper Distillery become a reality. The Webers now have a mission to help other people settle in Wausau and open businesses because, as they say, “it’s pretty great!”

“The City of Wausau Economic Development Committee and Marathon County’s Economic Development Committee have been very instrumental in the business development and growth,” said Dan. “We looked at a lot of locations for our business and we kept coming back to the famous Wausau Insurance Train Station. They wanted to see something happen with this iconic building for Wausau and we are thrilled to be here.”

Working tirelessly to renovate the train station, the journey of Timekeeper Distillery is one that continues to evolve and grow. “I’d say in the past two years I’ve been able to really find tune my knowledge of the barrel chemistry. Another thing we’re getting into is liquors and bitters. It’s a fun journey and all of it ultimately helps us pivot in business and helps us remain relevant in a competitive industry.”

In addition to their business, Kim now works at MCDEVCO, assisting others launch their own dreams. “It makes sense to make the leap. I’m able to have those conversations of empathy with an entrepreneur. I get it,” said Kim. “We wouldn’t be here without people that believed in us, so if we’re able to pay it forward and believe in other entrepreneurs, support them in their journey and share pitfalls and our joys, that’s a great thing. You have to understand there are more hard days than good days, but gosh when you win, it feels great, but you don’t win alone.”

Watch this Uniquely Wisconsin short here: 

Marathon County is truly a distinctive destination, home to the vibrant Hmong Wausau Festival, the delicious Stoney Acres Pizza Farm, and community-centered Timekeeper distillery. After all, it’s the community that makes Marathon County uniquely Wisconsin.

For more on Marathon County, watch this Discover Wisconsin special, ‘Uniquely Wisconsin: Heart & Soul’ now:

*Narration provided by Wondervox.

From the team at Discover Wisconsin: We believe in making our content accessible to all, which is why we offer an audio version of our blog posts. By clicking the play button above, you can listen to our blogs!

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