If you like harvest festivals, you’ll love Bishop Hill’s annual 19th century harvest festival, Jordbruksdagarna (pronounced yord-brooks-DAH-ga-na). The festival takes place on Saturday September 23 and Sunday September 24. A variety of traditional crafts will be demonstrated, along with food, vendors and activities for kids during the 51st Jordbruksdagarna (Swedish for “earth workdays”). Events take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and all demonstrations, hands-on activities, play and music are free. Artisans will make rope, process flax, carve wood, forge metal, make butter and more in the village park. Vendors will be on hand, selling farm produce, pumpkins, herbs, baked goods, crafts and much more. Musical performances include Hammer and Pick at 12 and 2 p.m. and the Nordic Dancers at 1 and 3 p.m. each day at the gazebo. A petting zoo in the northwest corner of the park will entertain all ages of animal lovers.
Jordbruksdagarna is located all over Bishop Hill. The Old Settlers’ Association will serve their famous Colony Stew from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Colony School. Uncle Bud Apple Cider Slushie and Pop of the Morning will be serving food and drinks next to the Carpenter Building. Visitors, including children, can try their hand at shelling corn, making bricks, pressing apples into cider, and creating a cornhusk doll behind the Bjorklund Hotel from 12 -4 p.m. each day. The Templetons will perform from 12 -3 p.m. each day behind the Hotel.
Visitors can explore the area’s agricultural heritage at the Henry County Historical Museum, where antique tractors and implements will be on display outdoors. The Bishop Hill Agricultural Association will give demonstrations both days at the Henry County Historical Museum, have an antique tractor parade around town at noon, and conduct a kid pedal tractor pull at 1 p.m. Author Mary Davidsaver will have a book signing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Prairie Arts Center. Tractor people movers will be on hand to take visitors around town to experience many of the activities, museums and stores.
Professional storyteller Brian “Fox” Ellis will perform as John Deere, inventor of the steel plow, at the park gazebo on Saturday, September 23 at 10 a.m. After the free performance, the BHHA Acting Troupe will perform their Bishop Hill Colony history skit, “To America at the Steeple Building,” starting at 11 a.m. TriCo Equestrian Center will offer pony rides from 12 -3 p.m. in the southwest corner of the park and the Bishop Hill Methodist Church will hold a bake sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by the Steeple Building.