You don’t have to say “Jordbruksdagarna” to know what it means: food, music, dancing, games, and crafts at Bishop Hill. The annual fall festival (pronounced yord-brooks-DAH-ga-na) takes place Saturday September 24 and Sunday September 25, 2016. This year, we have added some additional events. New for 2016 is music behind the Bjorklund Hotel, a blacksmith forging in the park, tractor people movers transporting guests around Bishop Hill, a book signing at the Bishop Hill Museum, a seed saving activity, and 10 antique/primitive vendors setting up a Settlers Harvest market in the park.
As always, there will be a variety of traditional craft demonstrations in the village park during the 45th Jordbruksdagarna (Swedish for “earth work days”). Artisans will make rope, process flax, forge metal, and more. Vendors will also sell farm produce, pumpkins, pioneer popcorn, antiques, primitives, and much more in the park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Two people movers will be available to transport people around town to experience many of the activities, museums, and stores. Stops will be at the VASA archives, the Henry County Museum, the Village Park, the Colony Church, and the Albert Krans Livery Stable Museum.
At the Bjorklund Hotel from noon to 4 p.m. each day, there will be demonstrations on how to press and cook sorghum and bake hard tack. Visitors can try their hand at shelling corn, making bricks, pressing cider, and making a corn husk doll. In addition, there will be free music by Norm Brown from 1 to 3 p.m. both days.
Performances in the park include Hammer and Pick at noon and 2 p.m., and the Nordic Dancers at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Old fashioned children’s games will also be conducted in the park at 2 p.m. each day. By the children’s games, the VASA Archives will have a seed saving activity for the kids as well.
Visitors can explore Henry County’s agricultural heritage at the Henry County Historical Museum, where a variety of antique tractors and implements will be displayed. The museum will also be the location of demonstrations on both days of the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Demonstrations will include threshing, corn shelling, and plowing. In addition, there will also be a tractor parade starting at noon each day.
At the Bishop Hill Museum, located at 304 South Bishop Hill road, there will be a reading and book signing for Mary Davidsaver’s Clouds over Bishop Hill on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. There will be refreshments, prizes, and a drawing for one of her books (you must be present to win). Mary will be donating part of her proceeds from her sales to the Bishop Hill Museum. In addition, Mary Davidsaver will also be appearing at the Feathered Nest Open House on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m.
Of course, food will be in abundance. The Bishop Hill Old Settlers’ Association will serve “Colony stew” and rice pudding in the park. The Bishop Hill Heritage Association’s Svensk Varm Korv, or Swedish hotdog dinner, will be served by Colony Store 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. both days. The Bishop Hill Methodist Church will be having a bake sale both days by the Steeple Building Museum.
Jordbruksdagarna is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, the Bishop Hill Arts Council, Bishop Hill Volunteer Fire Department and numerous local businesses, with the assistance of many volunteers. The event is also partly funded by the Illinois Art Council Agency, the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Nelson Farm Service, State Bank of Toulon, Bishop Hill Invenergy, TerraForm Power, a SunEdison company, Teens with a GIFT of Foresight, and the Henry County Independent Insurance Agents Association.