Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Photos of Bishop Hill - Do you see what I see?

I had fun taking pictures this past weekend in Bishop Hill. The weather was beautiful and the town was filled with gleeful guests enjoying the harvest celebration. I remember a time when cameras held film and every shot was executed with care because to print photos took time and money. Digital cameras have changed all that. In two days I clicked hundreds of pics expecting to use the best of the best here for your perusal online. When I got home and  reviewed my photos I laughed at my folly. Because I was hasty,  many of my shots contained unattractive modern elements like coolers, speakers, and trashcans. Only a decade ago I would have framed each pic to avoid such blemishes but I thought it would be easy enough to crop or erase them. But it's not so easy. Other views of the crowd often captured at least one person in an unattractive pose or gesture. Lots of oops here and there.
And finally, what made me laugh the most, was discovering that a many of my photos contained one or more photographers front and center, snapping the subject I was focused on!  If you would like to see some amazing Ag Days photographs, courtesy of Lou Lourdeau, (no butts, coolers, or photographers) check out this posting on the BHHA website!

This brings to mind something I read last week. According to the latest statistics in a recent Wall Street Journal article by Eben Shapiro, smartphones have exponentially increased the amount of street photographs taken. In the piece he goes on to report this jaw-dropping statistic: Every two minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s. 

Ah, but I wonder how many of these images have the ability to provoke thoughts or start a conversation?

That said, I am always interested in how visitors “see” Bishop Hill. I live here and often overlook the corners of the community an out-of-towner includes in his snapshots. I would love to view the pictures that Bishop Hill guests wish to share. I am working on an online album to which folks can add their best. Please email me for details if you have something to contribute. Want to share images today? You are invited to add your photos to the Bishop Hill Arts Council Facebook page. As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When folks see Bishop Hill at its best, they are far more inclined to visit!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Pumpkins galore in Bishop Hill

Bishop Hill's Jordbruksdagarna  celebration delighted all who attended - especially the young and young at heart. Thanks to those who came from near and far and special thanks to all the hardworking vendors and volunteers that made this festival outstanding!
If you missed picking out that special pumpkin from Ryan Werkheiser, owner of Nature's Creations at 21229 North 500th Avenue in Kewanee, his farm will be open to the public on Wednesdays through October 22. For an appointment, call 309-932-3834.

Check out more from Ryan here:
October 5&6 and 11&13, Knoxville Fairgrounds
October 11, Fall Review, Cambridge Methodist Church 
October 18, Craft Show, Galva High School

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jordbruksdagarna - September 27 & 28 Fabulous Family Fun

These last few months I've been delinquent in posting the current events of Bishop Hill. For the first time in nearly a decade I planted a huge garden filled with familiar floral friends and lots of new ones. I am a decade older now and a decade slower. Ouch. Our new patch of land was acquired last year and is conveniently located right next door to our family home on the west edge of Bishop Hill. What fun it has been easing back into the soil!
As much of this new garden is harvested and winterized, I plan to turn my attention back to filling this page with reports and insights into rural life I hope you find interesting. Living and working in Bishop Hill remains a great joy so more accounts on a variety of related projects and subjects will follow soon.
But for now, I offer my apologies to readers looking here for up-to-the-minute info regarding Bishop Hill. Instead, I direct you to these sources: Check out the Old Settles' Blog, the Arts Council Blog, and the BHHA website for all sorts of Bishop Hill activities and updates.
One of Bishop Hill's most important events in terms of attendance and permanence is our harvest festival. Since 1972, on the last weekend in September, Bishop Hill has celebrated Jordbruksdagarna (youd-brooks-DAH-ga-na), which is Swedish for "Earth Work Days." It was reported in this year's press release as hard to pronounce but easy to enjoy! So true.

As my family grows and grand-kids extend our circle, I find myself particularly grateful to be able to share this entertaining educational experience with them. I encourage others to do the same. Check out these hands-on kid-friendly activities behind the Colony Hotel this weekend: They include sorghum pressing and cooking, corn shelling, brick making, corn husk doll making and apple cider pressing. The Burns Boosters 4-H club will host a petting zoo in the Park, Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm. 

Bring the family! Exposing children to our rich past in this manner is the best way to ensure these traditions are upheld and carried on!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Midsommar Music Fest, June 21, in Bishop Hill

Celebrate the longest day of the year
in Bishop Hill style at our
Midsommar Music Fest
Saturday, June 21st
Following a day of music in the village park, the maypole is decorated and is carried at the head of a procession to the Colony School. Once there, traditional Swedish ring dances are taught to all attending and dancing around the maypole begins. At 7 pm refreshments are served and a traditional barn dance is held.
The Main Stage Concert
in the village park
This year’s lineup includes:
Black Hawk Pipes & Drums at 11:00 am
River Bend Bronze at Noon 
Jansson Five at 1 pm
Hammer & Pick at 2 pm
Bear Clan of Sweden at 3 pm 
Dressing the Maypole follows the concert at 4 pm
For more information call 309-927-3899

Sunday, June 15, 2014

See the Portrait of a Solder Exhibit in Bishop Hill - now through June

The Portrait of a Soldier Memorial Exhibit opened June 1, 2014,  as part of a statewide tour; it will remain on display at the Bishop Hill State Museum until July 1, 2014. It features hand-drawn portraits of more than 180 men and women from Illinois who have died in service of the country since 9/11/01.
The museum is open
Wed - Sun, 9 - 5

Portrait of a Solider was started when Artist Cameron Schilling, of Mattoon, drew his first portrait in August 2004, after Army SPC Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, was killed in Iraq. Schilling gave the sketch to SPC Neeley's parents to convey his sympathy for their loss. In October 2005, while a student at Eastern Illinois University, Schilling decided to draw a portrait of every Illinois service member who has died during the Global War on Terror. 

The portraits in the traveling show are copies of the originals, which have been given to the next of kin of those soldiers who have fallen. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Honor Flight Benefit returns to Bishop Hill

Join us
Sun, June 8
3-7 pm
for our annual 

Help us raise funds to send area veterans to Washington, D.C.  Fortunate veterans who are chosen will visit memorials
dedicated to honoring their sacrifices.

In the last five years, the community has raised more than $50,000 for the Quad Cities Chapter of the Honor Flight Network.  Area veterans will be provided with a free trip to visit their memorial with priority given to survivors of World War II, Korean War, and any veteran with a terminal illness.  Honor Flight Quad Cities operates on donations from organizations and individuals.  Representatives from the Honor Flight organization will be there to answer questions and to accept applications. 

The schedule begins with the Barbecue Rib dinner at 3 p.m. in the village park.  At 3:30 pm, the Illinois Patriot Guard and Legion Riders will arrive, after completing the Schuyler Patch Memorial Ride; at 4 pm, there will be an Invocation and then the Presentation of Colors by area VFW and American Legion groups.  There will be several speakers, including Representative Donald L. Moffitt from the 74th District and an Honor Flight representative.  Shelley Kinzer of Bishop Hill will be providing patriotic music.  Local Bishop Hill story teller Brian “Fox” Ellis will also perform.  Live auction provided by Stenzel Auction Service.  Auction items include a Chicago Blackhawks signed puck, a signed Chicago Bears print as well as locally made quilts, pottery, and other items.  Special military display provided by the Galva American Legion. There will be a military retreat at 1800 hours exactly (6 pm) with a 21 gun salute and taps.  Golf cart shuttle services, provided by Cambridge Cart, are provided from the edge of the park.  For more information call 927-3355.

The event is being organized by the Filling Station Restaurant. All proceeds from the day’s events will be donated to Honor Flight of the Quad Cities. If anyone wishes to make a donation, volunteer, or need more information call (309) 927-3355.     

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Bishop Hill Dairy Building is now open!

The Bishop Hill Heritage Association is pleased to announce the opening of the 1854 Dairy Building conference area.  The Dairy Building was built by the Bishop Hill Colonists to serve as a dairy processing center.  Cheese, cream, and butter were produced and stored on the first floor of this building.  The dairy maids lived on the second floor.  The BHHA is in the process of restoring this historic Colony building.

As part of this restoration, the first floor of the Dairy Building has recently been made into a conference area, ready to be used by individuals and groups.  It contains a large workshop/classroom area (called the Grand Room) and a smaller, adjoining coffee bar room, with restroom.  This pre-Civil War building is a unique setting for families, churches, school groups, businesses, and other organizations looking for a meeting place.  The Dairy Building is located at 410 North Erickson Street in Bishop Hill. 
Please call the BHHA at 309 927-3899

or email for more details.