2018 Schedule of Events for the BHHA and Bishop Hill


PDF of the Bishop Hill Map:  MapBH2016



August 11-12  Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts.

Mark your calendars for a fun, FREE, family-friendly festival! On August 11th & 12th, the Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts returns to historic Bishop Hill, Illinois. This second annual event features music, a plein-air (art created “in the open air”) painting competition, hands-on activities for kids, an arts and craft show and much, much more!

On both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., an arts and crafts show will be held next to the Steeple Building Museum and plein-air painters will be working on competition pieces throughout the town (10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday). A wheat weaving demonstration and sale will also be occurring in the Steeple Building from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. both days. If you are looking to get your creative juices flowing, VASA is sponsoring a hands-on workshop, Natural Dyeing, at their Archives Building from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. both days. There will also be art activities for children of all ages at the Bishop Hill Creative Commons (formerly The Village Smithy) from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. on Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday.

On Saturday only, the BHHA will be hosting their annual Pie in the Steeple fundraiser beginning at 11 a.m. (until they run out), with a piece of homemade pie, a scoop of ice cream and a drink for only $5. For your listening enjoyment, the musical group, Hammer and Pick, will be performing during the fundraiser from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sweet Annie’s Primitives will also hold an open house from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., with a variety of primitives and antiques for your shopping pleasure. For you music lovers, Corie “Cow” Weisenberger will be performing at The Commons at 2 p.m. on Saturday as well.

On Sunday only, the BHHA is hosting a Swedish Meatballs at the Steeple fundraiser from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Meatballs, chips and a drink will only set you back a mere $5. Also on Sunday, The River City 6 will entertain everyone in the Village Park, beginning at 2 p.m. In addition, to cap off this weekend of free, family fun, The Commons will be hosting the Plein Air Awards and an opening party from 5-7 p.m.

With the Bishop Hill Festival of the Arts in full swing (and with three restaurants to choose from, seven museums to enjoy, and a variety of shops to peruse), what better way to savor summer than to spend the weekend enjoying beautiful Bishop Hill?! And the best part?  This event is FREE and open to the public! This festival is brought to you by the Bishop Hill Arts Council and the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, with special assistance provided by Blick Art Materials, Garden Thyme, Hantverk Galleri, and the Bishop Hill Creative Commons. This project is supported by Quad City Arts Dollars, provided by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Hubbell-Waterman Foundation, and John Deere. For more information about the Festival of the Arts, please call 309-927-3064 or email artscouncilevents@gmail.com.




August 11       Pie at the Steeple (Pie and Ice Cream Social Fundraiser)
Join this fund raiser for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, held at the Steeple Building. 11 a.m. until it is gone.

August 12   Swedish Meatballs at the Steeple Building
Join this fund raiser for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, held at the Steeple Building. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

August 25       Bishop Hill Chautauqua

One hundred years ago, the great nations of the world agreed to an armistice that ended World War I, the war to end all wars. The 6th Annual Bishop Hill Chautauqua will commemorate The Great War with guest appearances from the major players, including Winston Churchill, General “Black Jack” Pershing, and President Herbert Hoover. This free public event will be held in the gazebo in the Village Park, and runs from 11:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday August 25th, 2018.
Winston Churchill, as portrayed by Kevin Radacker, will start the day at 11:00 a.m. with his insights and reflections on England’s role in WWI and the aftermath of the war. Kevin Radaker is a Professor of English at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. He is a veteran of fifteen summer Chautauqua tours and performs throughout the United States.

At 1 p.m., General “Black Jack” Pershing will share his story as the Supreme Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. More than any other man, John J. Pershing became the face of the U.S. Army in the early 20th century. He modeled what it meant to be a modern American military officer: dignified, direct, iron willed, decisive, tireless, and determined. Ron Edgerton, who portrays Pershing, is a retired Professor of Asian History at University of Northern Colorado.

At 2:15 p.m., Mike Cheesman will share “The Soul of the Soldier.” Through the songs and stories from the Great War, Mike gives us a glimpse of the patriotism that drove so many to the battlefields; the sacrifice of the soldiers and their loved ones as the war lingered on; and the heroism of the soldiers on both sides of the conflict. He will also give an evening concert at The Commons of folksongs from his homeland, England, “Across the Pond.”

President Herbert Hoover will deliver his Armistice Day address from 1929, looking back at his role in the humanitarian effort to feed Europe during and after the war and looking forward to a path towards a more lasting peace. When the United States entered the war, he launched the massive “Food Will Win the War” campaign. President Hoover will be portrayed by Bishop Hill’s resident storyteller and author, Brian “Fox” Ellis.

Throughout the day, World War 1 exhibits will be on display throughout the town. Displays created by Ian Houghton and Mike Johnson will be located near the park gazebo. Both the Henry County Museum and the Steeple Building Museum will also have special exhibits reflecting on the local connections to WWI.

What is a Chautauqua anyway? President Teddy Roosevelt once called the Chautauqua “the most uniquely American thing in America.” Pronounced shuh-TAW-kwuh, this traditional form of entertainment is an exploration of American life and liberty. Whether you can say it easily, or not, a Chautauqua is guaranteed to provide a good time with great music and stories.

Hear the true tales of what shaped us as a nation from the people who lived it. Humor and a deeply personal perspective mean that history has never been this much fun! Folks are encouraged to bring a lawn chair; and plan to come early to eat lunch in one of three restaurants, visit museums and craft shops. This free public event is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, private donations, and the Twinflower Inn Bed and Breakfast. For more information, call 309-927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net .


September 8    Old Settlers’ Day
This event celebrates the 171st anniversary of the Colony and the 121st year of the Old Settler’s Association. A traditional chicken dinner is served at 11:30 a.m., followed by a band concert at 12:15 p.m., and a program featuring Colony descendants at 1:30 p.m. Sponsored by the BHOSA.


September 9    Colony School Reunion

Former students and teachers from the Colony School and area country schools meet annually to celebrate. 2 – 4 p.m.


Sept. 29-30      Agriculture Days – Jordbruksdagarna

Bishop Hill’s biggest event features traditional 19th century demonstrations, harvest activities, music, dancing, farm produce, stew, antique/primitive vendors, and much, much more. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.


November 23 To November 24

Holiday Cookie Walk

Held at the Colony School Friday and Saturday from 9am-4pm. Local elves make cookies that are sure to please everyone. Come purchase holiday baked goods by the pound. 309-927-3899


November 23 To November 25

Christmas Market – Julmarknad

Swedish traditions come alive with folk characters causing mischief throughout the village. Music and the smell of food fills the air. Shops are filled with handmade items, antiques, folk art, and other gift items. 10am-5pm


December 01 To December 02

Christmas Market – Julmarknad

Holiday hospitality continues during this second weekend of Christmas Market. Find Swedish folk characters roaming throughout the village. Musical entertainment. Shops brim with handmade items, antiques, folk art, and other gift items. Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 11am-5pm.


December 01 To December 02

Holiday Chocolate Walk

A Chocolate Walk will be held at the Dairy Building. A delightful assortment of homemade chocolate treats will be available for you to purchase by the pound. 309-927-3899 Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm.


December 7 and 8

Lucia Nights

Coffee and sweet items are served in shops and museums by “Lucias.” Special music at various village locations. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 309-927-3899


December 25

Julotta – Candlelight Non-denominational Church Service

Services are held in the Colony Church and conducted in Swedish and English. Coffee and rusk served following the service. 6am.


Please call 309 927-3899 to confirm dates and times. Additional events may be added.