2020 Schedule of Events for the BHHA and Bishop Hill

PDF of the Bishop Hill Map:  MapBH2016

PDF of 2020 Bishop Hill Visitors Guide (created by the BHAC):  Bishop Hill Visitors Guide 2020

July 1  Bishop Hill Colony Papers Exhibition
At the Steeple Building Museum, the BHHA will be displaying documents from the mid-1800’s about various Bishop Hill Colony topics. These papers have never been on public display before.

August 15  Bishop Hill Hummingbird Festival
Spend the day in the gardens and prairies of Bishop Hill at the second annual Hummingbird Festival,
Sponsored by the Bishop Hill Creative Commons, Twinflower Inn, and Bishop Hill Arts Council.


August 22 Bishop Hill Chautauqua
Bishop Hill will host their 8th annual Chautauqua with Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, and Laura Ingalls Wilder sharing stories and songs. Each re-enactor will explore their unique perspectives on American History through the news of the day from their respective time periods. The event begins at 12:30 p.m. in the village park on Saturday August 22. The Bishop Hill Chautauqua ends at 5:00 p.m.

At 12:30 p.m., one of America’s greatest poets, Walt Whitman, who worked in the hospitals during the Civil War will open the show. Local storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into his shoes to sing the praises of American Democracy, Abraham Lincoln, and the greatness of this nation we are constantly striving towards. Weaving poetry and song with his misty morning encounter with President Lincoln, we see a very different side of our favorite president.

At 2:00, meet Louisa May Alcott, the beloved author whose children books made her one of America’s most famous writers. Leslie Goddard portrays Alcott in a program that draws from Alcott’s own diaries, books, and letters to bring the passionate, humorous, and progressive author to life. In 2018, the beloved novel Little Women celebrated its 150th birthday with both a Broadway and Hollywood production. As Miss Alcott shares stories about the creation of Little Women, she also reminisces about her life, including her poverty-stricken childhood, her struggles to succeed as a writer, and the unexpected, phenomenal success of Little Women in 1868. Her father was friends with Walt Whitman and her writing had a direct influence on Laura Ingalls Wilder!

At 3:30 p.m., Little House on the Prairie comes to life when its author Mrs. Wilder takes the stage to share stories of growing up in what was then the western wilderness of the middle west. Laura Keyes is a widely respected storyteller and historian who also happens to be a library director with a deep love for history and literature. For her, Laura Ingalls Wilder is more than a hero from history, she is an inspiration for all of us who wish to preserve our family stories, and in so doing share an intimate glimpse of history as we have lived it.

The programs are spaced a little further apart this year to allow time for transitions and to sanitize. We will also be following state mandated standards with family groups spaced 6-10 feet apart. Masks are required for the audience and social distancing is strongly encouraged. You are also encouraged to bring your own lawn chairs. The town park provides plenty of room for folks to keep their distance and yet be able to see and hear everything.

Reservations are also required since we are limited to 50 people per performance. Please call the Bishop Hill Heritage Association to reserve your seats for all or any one of the 3 programs: 309-927-3899. You can also email the BHHA at bhha@mymctc.net to reserve your spot. Walk-ins will not be allowed.

Since seating is so limited, we will also be hosting a live streaming event the following week with several more performers from across the country. Folks can register via the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, Heartland Sound Connections, or The Bishop Hill Creative Commons Facebook pages. Programs will run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, August 25, 26, 27, with performances at 7 and 8 pm.

The Bishop Hill Chautauqua is a free event sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, The Twinflower Inn, Fox Tales International, Geneseo Community Foundation, Bill and Susan Sherrard Foundation, and by generous donations of people like you. This program is also partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Thank you to the Bishop Hill State Historic Site for their assistance. Folks can come early to enjoy the restaurants, shops, and museums of Bishop Hill and plan to stay for dinner at P.L. Johnson’s after the show. For more information, call 309-927-3899, visit www.bishophillheritage.org, or email bhha@mymctc.net .

September 12 Old Settlers’ Day
This event celebrates the 174th anniversary of the Colony and the 124th year of the Old Settlers’ 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 13 Colony School Reunion
Former students and teachers from the Colony School and area country schools meet annually to celebrate. 2 – 4 p.m. Sponsored by the BHOSA.

Sept. 26-27 Agriculture Days – Jordbruksdagarna
Bishop Hill’s biggest event features traditional 19th century demonstrations, harvest activities, music, dancing, farm produce, stew, and much, much more. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m

October 10 March of the Women: Music for the 100th Anniversary of Suffrage
At 2 p.m. at the Dairy Building, there will be a one-hour free public concert by hammered dulcimer performer Phil Passen, performing songs about women’s suffrage. Sponsored by the BHHA and the IHC Road Scholars Speaker Bureau.

October 17 Basic Woodcarving Workshop
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dairy Building, learn basic woodcarving techniques from instructor Dennis Carlson. Max of 10 people for this class. Tools will be provided. Cost is $25 per student.  Call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net for more details or to register. Sponsored by the BHHA and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.

October 24   I Need to Make a Dollar: Protest Songs of Illinois Workers
At the Dairy Building starting at 2 p.m., Bucky Halker returns to present I Need to Make a Dollar: Protest Songs of Illinois Workers, 1865 to 1970.  This musical program brings the voice of the people to audiences, letting workers tell their story “from the bottom up.” The program features a sampling from the thousands of songs written by Illinois workers, allowing audiences to gain insight into the vision these workers had for a better, more just, and more democratic state and nation. This concert is free and open to the public. Call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net for more details. Sponsored by the BHHA and the Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar program.

Saturday November 7
Dala Horse Painting Workshop with Carol Curry
On Saturday November 7, Carol Curry will be conducting a Dala horse painting workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dairy Building in Bishop Hill, Illinois. Participants will hand-paint a small Dala horse using a traditional Swedish pattern. Space for the workshop will be limited to 14 adults. To reserve your spot, call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net. The cost is $20 per person. All supplies will be provided. Lunch will be on your own. This Swedish workshop is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association and SWEA-Chicago. The Dairy Building is located at 410 North Erickson Street, on the north end of town.

November 14  Learn to Felt Class
This three-hour workshop, taught by Lou Hanson of Hantverk Galleri, will teach the basics of wet felting. Call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net for more details or to register. 1– 4 p.m. at the Dairy Building Sponsored by the BHHA and the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency.

November 21   Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Right to Vote: Influential Illinois Women and the Suffrage Movement
Angie Snook, curator of the Geneseo Historical Museum, will be speaking in the Dairy Building at 2 p.m. about the local women suffrage movement. This program is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association.

Friday November 27, Saturday November 28, Sunday November 29, Saturday December 5, and Sunday December 6

Friday December 11 and Saturday December 12
Lucia Nights

Please call 309 927-3899 or email bhha@mymctc.net to confirm dates and times. Additional events may be added.