Mark your calendars for a fun, FREE, family-friendly festival! On August 11th & 12th, the Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts returns to historic Bishop Hill, Illinois. This second annual event features music, a plein-air (art created “in the open air”) painting competition, hands-on activities for kids, an arts and craft show and much, much more!

On both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., an arts and crafts show will be held next to the Steeple Building Museum and plein-air painters will be working on competition pieces throughout the town (10-5 on Saturday and 10-4, Sunday). A wheat weaving demonstration and sale will also be occurring in the Steeple Building from 11 – 4 both days. If you are looking to get your creative juices flowing, VASA is sponsoring a hands-on workshop, Natural Dyeing, at their Archives Building from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be art activities for children of all ages at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons (formerly The Village Smithy) from 10-5 on Saturday and 12-4 on Sunday.

On Saturday only, the BHHA will be hosting their annual Pie in the Steeple fundraiser beginning at 11 a.m. (until they run out), with a piece of homemade pie, a scoop of ice cream and a drink for only $5. For your listening enjoyment, the musical group, Hammer and Pick, will be performing during the fundraiser. Sweet Annie’s Primitives will also hold an open house from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., with a variety of primitives and antiques for your shopping pleasure.

On Sunday only, the BHHA is hosting a Swedish Meatballs at the Steeple fundraiser from 11 – 3. Meatballs, chips and a drink will only set you back a mere $5. For you music lovers, Corie “Cow” Weisenberger will be performing at The Commons at 2 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday, The River City 6 will entertain everyone in the Village Park, beginning at 2 p.m. In addition, to cap off this weekend of free, family fun, The Commons will be hosting the Plein Air Awards and an opening party from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday.

With the Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts in full swing (and with three restaurants to choose from, seven museums to enjoy, and a variety of shops to peruse), what better way to savor summer than to spend the weekend enjoying beautiful Bishop Hill?! And the best part?  This event is FREE and open to the public! This festival is brought to you by the Bishop Hill Arts Council and the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, with special assistance provided by Blick Art Materials, Garden Thyme, Hantverk Galleri, and the Bishop Hill Creative Commons. This project is supported by Quad City Arts Dollars, provided by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, and John Deere. For more information about the Festival of the Arts, please call 309-927-3064 or email