A weekend full of family-friendly activities will begin in Bishop Hill starting Friday, August 16th with a concert from a Colorado bluegrass group and continue through Sunday, August 18th.

            Friday’s concert features FY5, one of the most dynamic bluegrass bands touring the country. FY5 proudly swim in the deep currents of American music, playing new songs, well-informed by country and bluegrass traditions, but not bound to them. Featuring thoughtful arrangements, strong singing and musicianship, the band strives to connect to listeners with stories of common struggles and big ideas. Doors open at 6:00 P.M. There will be a potluck dinner for those who wish to bring a dish to pass. The concert will start promptly at 7:00 P.M. Suggested donation is $10 – $20 per person.

            All day Saturday and Sunday artists are invited to spend the day painting landscapes, architecture, or close-ups of the many fine gardens of Bishop Hill at the annual Plein Air Paint Out event. Artists can register on the Bishop Hill Arts Council Facebook page, by mail, or in person at Garden Thyme, 109 Bishop Hill Street, during business hours, Thursday through Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and Sunday 12:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Sunday afternoon there will be an awards ceremony and exhibition. For more information please call Katrina Morrison at (309) 373-5314.

            The evening of Saturday, August 17th P.L. Johnson’s will cater a dinner theatre at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons with dinner at 5:30 P.M. and the program starting at 6:30 P.M. The performance is an immersion into the art and adventures of John James Audubon as he attempted something never done before, painting a portrait of every bird in North America. This engaging performance blends the themes of the weekend with hummingbird biology and art history. Tickets are $30 and reservations are required. Call P.L. Johnson’s Dining Room to reserve your seat – (309) 927-3885.

            Sunday, August 18th, at 8:00 A.M. John James Audubon will lead a bird hike starting at the Twinflower Inn, 110 North Olson Street. Bring binoculars and comfortable walking shoes as the tour will circle Bishop Hill. A $10 donation is suggested for the tour. From noon until 4:00 P.M., there will be a wide range of family-friendly fun focused on hummingbirds! The Illinois Audubon Society will be banding hummingbirds and songbirds allowing visitors to get an up-close view of these most beautiful creatures. Monarch Watch will be on-site with their bus that has been converted into a traveling nursery for raising and releasing monarch butterflies. There will be hands-on hummingbird crafts for kids and informal talks on bee keeping, pollinator gardens, and bird migrations. At 1:00 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis will share Audubon’s and Native American hummingbird tales at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons. Megan Maroney and Daniel Watkins will present a mix of original and traditional tunes at an afternoon concert at the Commons. And, to pair with the adult plein air activities, there will be a children’s hummingbird art contest. At 5:00 P.M. the Bishop Hill Arts Council will announce the winners of this year’s Plein Air Paint Out. 

            This event is sponsored by The Bishop Hill Arts Council, Wild Birds Unlimited of Peoria, The Twinflower Inn, P.L. Johnson’s Dining Room, The Bishop Hill Creative Commons, The Bishop Hill Bakery and Eatery, Vasa Archives, The Colony Store, Vintage Goods & Frau Blucker’s. Plan to spend the weekend visiting the shops and museums of Bishop Hill.