2017 Schedule of Events for the BHHA and Bishop Hill


PDF of the 2016 Bishop Hill Visitors Guide, which also includes some of the 2017 events (courtesy of the Bishop Hill Arts Council):    BHVG2016_WEB

PDF of the Bishop Hill Map:  MapBH2016


Listing of 2017 events

April 1             Spring Jubilee

The historic site of Bishop Hill will begin the 2017 season with kick-off activities on Saturday, April 1. This is the weekend when we say goodbye to a long winter and get out and enjoy everything anew. Shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums will be open for the season and will offer delights certain to be crowd pleasers. Check out the following Spring Jubilee activities:

  • Join the Vasa National Archives and Museum for an opening reception from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for their new exhibit. This exhibit will display Swedish and Swedish American handicrafts, art, and the rise of the handcraft (sjöld) movement in Sweden. Light refreshments are available throughout the day.
  • Garden Thyme will be hosting a Spring Birdhouse Gourd Workshop. Folks can paint a gourd for the birds to enjoy in their gardens. The fee is $25 and includes the gourd and all paint supplies. Call 309 373-5314 to sign up for this workshop.
  • The Bishop Hill Museum will be providing bird nesting materials for people to put in their yards. The museum is located at 304 South Bishop Hill Street.
  • The Colony Store will be having children activities. A reading area will be set up for children to read books or be read to, and in addition, there will be origami demonstrations.
  • Beginning at 10 a.m. there will be a Toy Tractor Weekend in the Steeple Building Museum. A large variety of John Deere, Case, and International Harvester toy tractors and farm implements will be on display and for sale. Call 309 927-3899 for more details.
  • Mark your calendar for these other upcoming April events in Bishop Hill. On April 22 at the Dairy Building, there will be a scholarly program about The Humor of Abraham Lincoln. Also, on April 22, there will be the Swedish Stomp, a 5K run, and Skamperoo for the kids. On April 28, the Vasa National Archives will be hosting their annual Valborg Bonfire and Weiner Roast.

Bring the whole family and help celebrate Swedish culture and heritage in Bishop Hill, Illinois. Pick up your 2017 Visitor’s Guide to help with your plans for attending all of the season’s events and activities. Visit http://bishophill.com for further information or call 309 927-3899.

Sponsored by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill State Historic Site., and VASA Archives.


April 1-2         Toy Tractor Weekend at the Steeple Building

Toy tractor collectors and enthusiasts will be out in force to view over 100 red, blue, orange, and green toy tractors and farm implements. April 1 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsored by the BHHA.


April 22           The Humor of Abraham Lincoln

Dr. Bill Hampes, psychology professor at Black Hawk College, will be presenting a program about the humor of President Abraham Lincoln. The 40-minute presentation will discuss the ways that President Abraham Lincoln used humor and will also utilize what psychologists and others have learned about humor to show how it reflected his complex personality. 1:30 p.m. at the Dairy Building.

Sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association and the Black Hawk College Speakers Bureau.


April 22           Swedish Stomp and Skamparoo Experience Historic Bishop Hill as you run or walk in the 5K event. Registration 7 a.m. with the race at 9 a.m. Sponsored by the BHOSA.


May 19-21       Quilt Show: Cats, Calico and, Cross-stitch A bedazzling display of color will fill the Colony School. Quilts may be antique, miniature, patchwork, appliqué, or something else. Admission is $5 at the Colony School. Special quilt exhibits will be at the Steeple Building, as well as wheat weaving demonstrations. Additional programs at the Dairy Building. May 19 and 20, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and May 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sponsored by the Prairie Queen Quilt Club, Bishop Hill Arts Council, and the Bishop Hill Heritage Association.


June 3             Workers of the World, Awaken! The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill exhibition opening

This traveling display was created by the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia and will open on Saturday, June 3 in the Steeple Building Museum. Joe Hill, was an early 20th century Swedish-American labor activist, cartoonist, and songwriter, who coined the phrase “pie in the sky.” He was born in Gävle, Sweden, the same port city that many of the early Bishop Hill Colonists sailed from on their way to America. The exhibit will close on September 30, 2017. Sponsored by the BHHA


June 3             Joe Hill concert

As part of the Workers of the World, Awaken! The Life and Legacy of Joe Hill exhibition opening, there will be a free afternoon concert of Joe Hill songs, performed by Bucky Halker.   This free musical performance is sponsored by the BHHA and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Sponsored by the BHHA.


June 11           Honor Flight Benefit This is a fund raising event for the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. Enjoy music, an auction, and a dinner, all in the Bishop Hill Village Park. 3-6 p.m. Sponsored by the Filling Station. 


June 24           Midsommar Music Festival Join a lively Swedish tradition to celebrate the summer solstice. Free concerts in the park. A Maypole will be decorated and a procession will ensure delivery to the Colony School. A barn dance will be held in the evening. Music from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pole decorating and procession at 4 p.m. Barn dance at 7 p.m.

Organized by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill VASA Lodge #683, VASA Order of America, BHHA, and the Bishop Hill State Historic Site.


 June 24          Rabarber Fundraiser.  Enjoy a fresh slice of rhubarb pie as you attend the Midsommar Music Festival.  Located at the Steeple Building Museum, proceeds from this fundraiser will help finance BHHA activities.


July 8              Country Antique Market

Quality antiques including primitives, country, folk art, pottery, and much more are available on the lawn of the Colony School. $6.00 admission. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Sponsored by Sweet Annie Primitives.


July 23            Antique Car Show Antique and classic car show. Registration is from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., judging is from noon – 1:30 p.m. with awards presented at 3 p.m. Sponsored by the Bishop Hill Old Settlers Association.


August 12-13  Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts.

Demonstrations include pottery making and firing, spinning and weaving techniques, and broom making, with wheat weaving in the Steeple Building Museum. Vendors of all different type of art forms will be present. Sponsored by the BHAC.


August 12       Pie in the Park (Pie and Ice Cream Social Fundraiser) Join this fund raiser for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, held in the Village Park. 1 – 4 p.m.


August 26       Bishop Hill Chautauqua

 Spend the day with several characters from our past. Join us for a historical re-enactment brought to life through storytelling and music. The theme this year is agriculture. Free event held in the village park.

Sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association and the Twinflower Inn.


September 9    Old Settlers’ Day This event celebrates the 171st anniversary of the Colony and the 121st year of the Old Settler’s Association. A traditional chicken dinner is served at 11:30 a.m., followed by a band concert at 12:15 p.m., and a program featuring Colony descendants at 1:30 p.m. Sponsored by the BHOSA.


September 10  Colony School Reunion

Former students and teachers from the Colony School and area country schools meet annually to celebrate. 2 – 4 p.m.


Sept. 23-24      Agriculture Days – Jordbruksdagarna

Bishop Hill’s biggest event features traditional 19th century demonstrations, harvest activities, music, dancing, farm produce, stew, antique/primitive vendors, and much, much more. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


October 14-15

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. 309-927-3899.

Nov. 24-26


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. 309-927-3899


Dec. 2-3


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. 309-927-3899


Dec. 8-9

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. 309-927-3899


Dec. 16-17

Customer Appreciation Weekend at the Colony Store. Customers receive 10% off and BHHA members receive 20% off all purchases.


Please call to confirm dates and times. Additional events may be added.