2016 Schedule of Events for the BHHA and Bishop Hill


PDF of the 2016 Bishop Hill Visitors Guide, with all of the 2016 events (courtesy of the Bishop Hill Arts Council):    BHVG2016_WEB

PDF of the 2016 Bishop Hill Map:  MapBH2016


Listing of events that are solely or partly sponsored/supported by the BHHA


Hälsingland: Today and Yesterday exhibition in Steeple Building Museum

In 1846, the Bishop Hill Colonists came from five provinces north of Stockholm. The province of Hälsingland provided the largest population that left their homeland for the Bishop Hill Colony. This new exhibition, entitled Hälsingland: Today and Yesterday, describes the history and culture of this province.   Life size images of a few of those brave Hälsingland Colonists will greet visitors as they enter the Steeple Building Museum.  In the Yesterday room, Life from the early Bishop Hill Colony days is exhibited, as well as the Gold Rush participation.  A reproduction of the Hälsingland Regiment flag is on display with the names of the Hälsingland men who were in the military in Sweden.

The Today room of the exhibition shows guests what crafts are still active in Hälsingland.  Linens from the village of Vaxbo, jewelry from a silversmith in Segersta, wood working, metal items, and pottery are all on display. Swedish royalty is touched upon, as well as Hälsingland entertainers and artists.  In addition, the villages of Delsbo and Mo have antique folk dresses on display, on loan from the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.

This is an exhibit that everyone will enjoy, Swedish or not!  The official exhibit opening is on Bishop Hill’s Midsommar Music Festival, June 18th, 2016.  This exhibition was created for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association by Cheryl Dowel and Kerstin Lane. The exhibit will close on October 1, 2016. For more details, please call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net.


July 30 and 31

Bishop Hill Folk Music Festival

On July 30 and 31, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association will host a brand new event, the Bishop Hill Folk Festival. Located in the village park in the center of town, this 2-day festival will present some of the best known folk and ethnic music performers from around the Midwest, such as Bill Robinson, Joel Mabus, Chris Vallillo, Catfish Keith, Bahola, Chicago Spelmanslag, and many more. The musical styles presented will span a wide range of folk and ethnic music including Old Time Square Dance Music, Hammered Dulcimer, Swedish, Blues, Bluegrass and Mexican to name just a few. Along with main stage performances, many of the artists will also conduct workshops presenting their particular musical style in an informal setting in the historic Steeple Building. These workshops will be informal performance and demonstration sessions where the audience can see and hear detailed descriptions of the particular musical form the artist represents. All activities will be free and open to the public.  Music starts at noon and continues through both days. More information can be found at www.bishophillfolkfestival.com.

The historic town is a perfect place to present the musical heritage of the Midwest. In 1846, a group of Swedish immigrants seeking religious freedom left their native land under the guidance of their charismatic spiritual leader, Eric Janson. The site for their new utopia, later called Bishop Hill, was described to them as a “land of plenty, brimming with milk and honey.” Today Bishop Hill is a quiet country village where the charm and character of the original colony have survived the test of time. Bishop Hill is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a National Historic Landmark, and is also an Illinois State Historic Site.

This event is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and the Bill and Susan Sherrard Foundation. Our media sponsor is FM95 in Galesburg, IL. For more details, you call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net.

Main Stage Performances on Saturday July 30 in the park:

Noon   Paul Wilson & Mary Abendroth

1:00   Bahola

2:00   Joel Mabus

3:00   Los Condenados Haustecos

4:00   Chicago Spelmanslag

5:00   Volo Bogtrotters


Saturday Workshops: In the Steeple Building

2:15:   Bahola

3:15     Joel Mabus

4:15     Los Condenados Haustecos

5:15     Chicago Spelmanslag


Main Stage Performances on Sunday July 31 in the park:

Noon   Holy Cross Immaculate Heart of Mary Marimba Ensemble

1:00   Chris Vallillo

2:00   Nordland Band

3:00   Catfish Keith

4:00   Bill Robinson and Friends


Sunday Workshops: In the Steeple Building

2:15     Bill Robinson

3:15     Nordland Band

4:15     Catfish Keith


July 30

Clay Whistle Workshop

On Saturday July 30th, potter Lou Hanson will be conducting a pipspel making workshop from 10 a.m. to noon. at the Dairy Building in Bishop Hill, Illinois. Participants will learn to make a clay whistle… that works, called a pipspel. A pipspel is a clay whistle shaped like a bird, commonly used as a child’s toy in Sweden. This workshop is inspired by the antique pipspel located in the Steeple Building Museum. Space for the workshop will be limited to 15 adults. To reserve your spot, call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net. The cost is $20 per person. All clay, tools, materials, and kiln firing are included in the fee.   You may pick up your pipspel two weeks after the workshop.

Lou Hanson apprenticed with Colony Potter Steve Holden in 1976 and 1977. She has been making her living with clay ever since. Lou owns and creates at Hantverk Galleri in Bishop Hill, Illinois. This Swedish workshop is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association and the American-Scandinavian Foundation. The Dairy Building is located at 410 North Erickson Street, on the north end of town.


Viking Age Encampment 

Bishop Hill, IL

August 13 and 14, 2016

Come to our free Encampment, where we present an everyday scene from the Viking Age.

It will feature costumed interpreters in an accurate Anglo-Scandinavian encampment of the eleventh century. Textiles, gaming, woodworking, cooking, lye-making and many more activities from this time period will be demonstrated from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The encampment is by Micel Folcland—the local branch of Regia Anglorum. For more info, call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net.

Organized by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association.


Fighting Medicine Textile


August 13 and 14

Clay and Fiber Fest

Pottery and textiles weekend. Demonstrations include pottery making and broom making. Hands-on activities include spinning and weaving. Enjoy a soup supper and ice cream social on the 13th.

In addition, on both days, there will be a 1000 AD Nordic Market conducted by historical reenactors from Micel Folcland. Come experience the early Middle Ages by visiting this Scandinavian encampment.


August 27 and 28

Bishop Hill Chautauqua

Located in the park, storytellers will portray historical figures. This year’s theme is immigration and migration. Schedule is below:

Saturday Aug. 27

10-12 Workshop with Tersi Bendiburg and Brian “Fox” Ellis: Storytelling with Young Children

1:00 Brian “Fox” Ellis: An Irish Immigrant’s Tale

2:15 Recent Immigrant experiences by Souhail Elhouar PhD., Tunisian, Bradley University Professor and Tersi Bendiberg: A Cuban Storyteller

3:30 Sherri Mitchell as Swedish Nightingale Jenny Lind

Sunday  Aug. 28

1:00 Sarah Uthoff as Laura Ingalls Wilder, Western Emmigration

2:15 Local Students Perform!

3:30 Brian “Fox” Ellis as Jonas Olson: One of Bishop Hill’s Founders


Sept. 24-25


Celebrating Bishop Hill’s agrarian heritage, this event features traditional 19th century harvest activities, music, dancing, and farm produce.  New attractions this year will be the Settlers Harvest (a gathering of proprietors selling early country antiques, primitives, and handcrafted goods in the village park), live music behind the Bjorklund Hotel, and blacksmithing demonstrations in the park.

10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


October 22-23, Steeple Building Museum

Collectors Weekend

For one weekend only at the Steeple Building Museum, antique and vintage items of all shapes, sizes, and topics will be exhibited by local collectors for display only. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Nov. 25-27


Christmas Market. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Swedish folk characters roam the village. Swedish food specialties, folk arts, and antiques.

Christmas Cookie Walk. Select from a large array of holiday cookies,homemade by community bakers at the Colony School on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Dec. 3-4


Christmas Market. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Traditionally decorated shops and museums. Encounter Swedish folk characters. Swedish foods, unique gifts, and more.

Chocolate Walk. Saturday and Sunday select from homemade chocolate delicacies for your holiday enjoyment. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Dec. 9-10

Lucia Nights

Coffee and sweet items are served in shops and museums by “Lucias.” Special music at various village locations. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.