The public is invited to immerse themselves in history at the Bishop Hill Chautauqua on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 26 and 27.

This free reenactment of famous figures will be held in the village park gazebo in Bishop Hill, Ill.

Brian “Fox” Ellis as explorer Meriwether Lewis

On Saturday, the event begins with A Storyteller’s Tour of Bishop Hill led by Brian “Fox” Ellis at 9 a.m., starting at the park gazebo and lasting for about an hour. At 11 a.m., singer-songwriter Barry Cloyd will portray Illinois poet laureate and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg.

At noon, in the Steeple Building Museum, Margie Cain from the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Rock Island will share the history of its collection in relation to Abraham Lincoln, including a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Fritz Klein as Abraham Lincoln

Bishop Hill has four places open for lunch or people can bring a picnic basket to share with their family and friends. At 1 p.m., Becky Stone will take the stage as the most renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman. At 2, Fritz Klein will portray everyone’s favorite president, Abraham Lincoln.

And at 3 p.m., Brian “Fox” Ellis, as Meriwether Lewis, will share the comic misadventures of the Corps of Discovery. At 4 p.m., the Bishop Hill Heritage Association is hosting a fika with the performers at the park gazebo.

Fika is a Swedish tradition of coffee and conversation; in this instance the audience is invited to ask questions of the historical character and of the performer. Another new element of this year’s event is a dinner theater experience at P.L. Johnson’s Dining Room beginning at 6 p.m.

Jo Lakota

Cloyd and Ellis will portray two French explorers in an original musical theater production, “Canoe Song: The Story of the French Voyagers.” Reservations are required and can be made by calling the restaurant at 309-927-3885.

Starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, Jo Lakota and The Eagle Ridge Drum will transport the audience to the earliest days of Native American history. At 1 p.m., Paula Vankuren will sing as sweetly as the “Swedish Nightingale,” Jenny Lind, and tell the stories of Lind’s relationships with Hans Christian Anderson and Frederic Mendel.

Paula Vankuren as Jenny Lind

At 2 p.m., Becky Stone as Rosa Parks will share the stories of her role in the Civil Rights Movement. And at 3 p.m., Danny Fox will step into the shoes of Bob Dylan, regaling the audience with songs and stories from his classic American songbook.

For more information about the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, visit its website HERE.