Bishop Hill invites you to join the Lucia Nights celebration on Friday December 7 and Saturday December 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. This Swedish tradition is based on a legend of Saint Lucia, Queen of Light. Girls in Sweden today wake their families on December 13th carrying a tray of Lucia buns while dressed in a white robe and wearing a crown of candles.
Lucia Nights begins in Bishop Hill with the Lighting of the Park Christmas tree at 6 p.m. on Friday, December 7, with music provided by the Peoria Cooperative Academy Madrigal Singers. The public is invited to bring edible ornaments to hang on the tree. Evening attractions include free musical performances in various locations in town. Businesses and museums will have a Lucia girl serving cookies. Around the village, each building will have a single candle in each window, and sidewalks will be illuminated. Restaurants are open both evenings. Special Christmas gifts will also be on sale.
On both Friday and Saturday evenings, Bishop Hill will be hosting a wide variety of activities. At the Fire Station, the Peoria Cooperative Academy Madrigal Singers will be performing each night at 6:30 p.m., followed by Jazz on the Side at 7:30 p.m. The VASA National Archives will have a closing reception for their exhibits, with storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis sharing traditional Swedish and Pioneer Christmas stories. At the Steeple Building Museum, Hammer and Pick will be playing a variety of Christmas and folk music. On the first floor of the Colony Church, there will be a Lucia and Tomte Selfie Station. In addition, the Bishop Hill Community United Methodist Church will host the annual Soup and Chili Supper, beginning at 4:00 p.m. A free-will donation is appreciated to cover the cost of the meal.
On Friday December 7 only, American/Folk singer Mark Stuart will be performing from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons. Starting at 5 p.m., a potluck dinner will precede the concert. $10 to $20 donation is suggested.
On Saturday, December 8 only, at 7 p.m., there will be an Old Fashioned Barn Dance at the Colony School. The Sangamo Stemwinders will be performing. All dances taught and called by Gail Hintze. Admission is $5 per person, and beginners are welcome. No partner is necessary. Later that evening, as part of their Christmas is Coming Tour, Jason Gray, Stars Go Dim’s frontman Chris Cleveland, and Jilian Linklater will be performing from 9 to 10:30 p.m. at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons. This family friendly concert will feature Christmas original songs, fan-favorite radio hits, and Christmas classics. General admission is $15 in advance and $20 the day of the concert. Buy tickets at www.eventbrite.com.
Lucia Nights is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Bishop Hill State Historic Site, Old Settler’s Association. VASA National Archives, Bishop Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and numerous local businesses. The event is also partly funded by grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and the Quad City Arts.