Bishop Hill invites you to join the Lucia Nights celebration on Friday December 9 and Saturday December 10 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 9. 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. Restaurants are open both evenings. Special Christmas gifts will also be on sale.

On both Friday and Saturday evenings, Bishop Hill will be hosting a wide range of activities. Jazz on the Side will be performing at 6 p.m. each night in the Dairy Building, with the Peoria Cooperative Academy Chorale following at 7:30 p.m. The VASA National Archives will have a closing reception for their exhibits, with storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis sharing traditional Swedish and Pioneer Christmas stories. At the Steeple Building Museum, Hammer and Pick will be playing a variety of music, 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.

On Friday, December 9 only, the Kewanee High School Chorus will first perform at the Tree Lighting. Afterwards, they will be caroling throughout the village.

On Saturday, December 10 only, the ROWVA High School Chorus will be caroling throughout Bishop Hill. From 6 to 7 p.m. in the Steeple Building Museum, violinists Stephanie Cannon and Elizabeth Mattern will be playing Christmas carols, followed by Hammer and Pick’s musical performance. 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.

*This event is supported with Quad City Arts Dollar$ funds. Lucia Nights is also sponsored, in part, by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a State Agency.