The roots of our agricultural past will be celebrated in story and song at the 5th annual Bishop Hill Chautauqua on August 26th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Experience how farming has changed through the centuries as told by re-enactors portraying famous historical characters. Some of the questions they will explore include: How was corn first domesticated? How has the American Indian legacy affected modern agriculture? How has John Deere’s plow influenced changes on the farm? And how has music helped to tell that story? This free family friendly event will be held in the village park gazebo on Saturday August 26.

Start the day with a Saturday morning program about Grandmother Corn, the story of the Native American roots of agricultural, as told by Jo Lakota. She will be joined by her son Jimmy Edwards, an award winning fancy dancer as The Eagle Ridge Drum sings traditional corn planting songs.  Continuing into the afternoon, meet John Deere as portrayed by Brian “Fox” Ellis. Deere will tell the story of America’s transformation from simple subsistence farming to the modern industrialization of agribusiness.  He will also challenge the audience to consider the future of farming here in rural Illinois.  John Deere will be followed by performances from some of the best and brightest students from Galva and Williamsfield schools who will portray a variety of historical figures and entertain the audience with stories of these famous figures.  Finish the day listening to “The Farmer is the Man,” songs that spring from the fertile fields of Illinois as performed by singer/songwriter Chris Vallillo.

As a special feature, storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis will offer a storyteller’s walking tour of Bishop Hill in which he will guide folks around the village sharing the history of this Utopia on the Prairie. The tour stars promptly at 9:00 a.m. on the front porch of the Twinflower Inn, 110 North Olson Street. A small donation for the walking tour would be welcomed.

All programs will be held at the village park gazebo in Bishop Hill, IL.  Folks are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.  This free public event is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Community State Bank, private donations, and the Twinflower Inn Bed and Breakfast.  For more information, call 309 927-3899, visit or email .