Bishop Hill invites you to join the Lucia Nights celebration on Friday December 11 and Saturday December 12 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 11. 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. Special Christmas gifts will also be on sale.

On both Friday and Saturday evenings, Bishop Hill will be hosting a wide range of activities. The Peoria Cooperative Academy Chorale will be performing in VagnHall Galleri at 6 p.m. In the Welcome Center from 6 to 9 p.m., storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis will be sharing traditional Swedish and Pioneer Christmas stories, mixed with a sing-a-long of many of your favorite carols. At the Steeple Building, Hammer and Pick will be playing from 6 to 9 p.m., with woodcarving demonstrations going on as well.  In addition, the Bishop Hill Community United Methodist Church will host the annual Soup and Chili Supper beginning at 4:00 p.m. until they run out. A free-will donation is appreciated to cover the cost of the meal. Garden Thyme will also be selling three Christmas trees, each designed by a local artist. Each tree will be pre-decorated with a theme and a title given by the artist. For more information, visit Garden Thyme in Bishop Hill on Facebook.

On Friday, December 11 only, Jazz on the Side will be performing in VagnHall Galleri at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, December 12 only, there will be a book signing by Lilly Setterdahl from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Welcome Center.   Second Love After 50 is Lilly’s first contemporary novel, but her 19th book.   Second Love After 50 is a contemporary, family-oriented love story set in Illinois with Swedish characters centering around a 52-year old widow of the baby-boom generation and her chance at second love.  ROWVA High School Chorus will be caroling throughout Bishop Hill from 5 to 6 p.m. The Mountain Men will be performing in VagnHall Galleri at 7 p.m. In addition, beginning at 7 p.m., there will be an Old Fashioned Barn Dance at the Colony School. The Rusty Pickup String Band will be performing. All dances taught and called by Gail Hintze and Jim Hicks. Admission is $5 per person, and beginners are welcome. No partner is necessary.

For more information about Lucia Nights, call 309-927-3899.

*Lucia Nights is sponsored, in part, by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a State Agency.