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Bishop Hill, Illinois

In 1846, a group of Swedish immigrants seeking religious freedom left their native land under the guidance of their charismatic spiritual leader, Erik Jansson. The site for their new utopia, later called Bishop Hill, was described to them as a “land of plenty, brimming with milk and honey,” and they struggled to make it so. These Janssonists built a successful communal society based on economic and religious principles. Many of the structures erected during this building campaign still exist. The colony grew and flourished for fifteen years before disbanding in 1861.

Today Bishop Hill is a quiet country village where the charm and character of the original colony have survived the test of time. Bishop Hill is a National Landmark Village, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it is an Illinois State Historic Site.


Bishop Hill, Illinois Event Calendar

Summer - 2014
July 27
Antique Car Show 2014
Come to view or display great antique and classic cars. Registration is from 9am-1:30pm, judging is from noon-1:30 with awards presented at 3pm
August 16 to August 17
Clay and Fiber Fest
Enjoy fine pottery and fiber work as dozens of the Midwest's best display their wares. Demonstrations include pottery making and firing, spinning and weaving techniques, and broom making. Hands-on activities include spinning and weaving. Enjoy a soup supper on Saturday featuring homemade soups served in handmade bowls at the Colony School.
August 16
Pie and Ice Cream Social
Join this delicious fundraiser for the Bishop Hill Heritage Association in the Village Park. 1pm- 4 pm.
Fall - 2014
September 06
Bishop Hill Chautauqua
Located in the Village Park, this small town tradition is a free family oriented event where you will hear reenactors tell inspiring stories portraying famous historical figures from the past. For more information go to
September 13
Old Settlers' Day
Celebrate the 168th anniversary of the Colony and the 118th year of the Old Settlers' Association. A traditional chicken dinner is served at 11:30am at the Colony School. In the Village Park attend a band concert at 12:15pm and a program featuring Colony descendants at 1:30pm.
September 14
Colony School Reunion
Former students and teachers from the Colony School and area country schools meet annually to celebrate. 2-4pm. 309-927-3044
September 27 to September 28
Agriculture Days - Jordbruksdagarna
Bishop Hill's biggest event features traditional 19th century demonstrations, harvest activities, music, dancing, farm produce, and Colony stew. 10am-5pm.
October 10
Harvest Moon Shopping and Bonfire
Return to Bishop Hill and shop by the light of the harvest moon when the Bishop Hill galleries and restaurants will be open after dark. Then come enjoy ghost stories and a bonfire at the Twinflower Inn located in the Colony Hospital. Shop until 9pm. The bonfire ghost stories run from 8:00pm-10:00pm.
Winter - 2014
November 28 to November 30
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
November 28 to November 29
Christmas Cookie Walk
Held at the Colony School Friday and Saturday from 9am-4pm. Local elves make cookies that are sure to please everyone.
December 06 to December 07
Christmas Market - Julmarknad
This is the second week of the Christmas Market. Shopping for the gift items continues and the music and food is just as tantalizing. 10am-5pm
December 06 to December 07
The Chocolate Walk
Held at the new Arts Council Welcome Center. Many Chocolate treats will be available for you to enjoy. Friday and Saturday from 9am-4pm.
December 12 to December 14
Lucia Nights - Festival of Lights
Coffee and sweets are served in shops and museums by young girls dressed as St. Lucia. Musical entertainment fills the air throughout the village. 6pm-9pm
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.

Additional information-phone 309-927-3345 unless otherwise noted.


*Programs of the Bishop Hill Arts Council are partially supported by a grant from
the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


Registration is
9am to 11:30 am
Sunday, July 27th
Join us early to sign in!

Windy Corner Etsy Shop Bishop Hill Visitors Guide 2011
Enchantment awaits you behind every door and window. Visit and be renewed by our ageless utopia.
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