Bishop Hill State Historic Site will celebrate the Swedish fall festival Jordbruksdagarna (pronounced yord-brooks-DAH-ga-na) with food, music, dancing and games Sept. 28 and 29.
The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will host a variety of traditional craft demonstrations in the Park during the 42nd Annual Jordbruksdagarna (Swedish for “earth work days”). Hands-on activities behind the Colony Hotel include sorghum pressing and cooking, corn shelling, brick making, corn husk doll making and apple cider pressing.
Performances in the Park both days include Hammer and Pick at noon and 2, and the Nordic Dancers at 1 and 3.
Visitors can explore Henry County’s agricultural at the Henry County Historical Museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. A variety of antique tractors and implements will be on the grounds. New this year at the Henry County Historical Museum will be demonstrations of threshing oats, picking corn and shelling corn both days of the event. An early 1900s Avery threshing machine will be used to thresh oats at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m. corn will be picked by a tractor-mounted picker, and at 1:30 corn shelling will be done using a John Deere Model #6 sheller mounted on a 1930’s International Harvester truck.
Of course, traditional Swedish food will be in abundance. Traditional treats may be sampled by visitors in the park. The Bishop Hill Old Settlers’ Association will serve Colony Stew and rice pudding. The Bishop Hill Heritage Association Swedish Sausage Dinner will be served by Colony Store beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 29
Vendors will sell farm produce, pumpkins, pioneer popcorn and more items in the Bishop Hill Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
All Bishop Hill restaurants, shops, and lodging will be open. The Bishop Hill Museum, with original paintings by 19th century Bishop Hill resident Olof Krans, will be open both days of the event.
Jordbruksdagarna is sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; the Bishop Hill Arts Council, which co-sponsors the music and dance performances; the Bishop Hill Heritage Association; Bishop Hill Volunteer Fire Department, and numerous local businesses.
Bishop Hill was founded by Swedish religious dissidents in 1846 as a “Utopia on the Prairie.” Many of the original colony buildings remain today, and many of the residents are descendants of the original settlers. The Bjorklund Hotel, Old Colony Church and Bishop Hill Museum are administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (www.Illinois-History.gov).