BISHOP HILL — The 41st annual Jordbruksdagarna, the Swedish autumn festival, will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Bishop Hill State Historic Site.
Jordbruksdagarna (Swedish for “earth work days”) will feature demonstrations, performances, food, music, dance and games. The event is free and open to the public.
The Bishop Hill Heritage Association will host a variety of traditional craft demonstrations in the park and village both days, including antique tools, weaving, spinning and rope making. Children’s games take place in the park at 2 p.m. both days.
Hands-on activities behind the Colony Hotel to 4 p.m. both days include sorghum pressing and cooking, corn shelling, brick making, corn husk doll making and apple cider pressing.
A new event this year, 14 and under girls fast pitch softball games, begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Performances in the park both days include Hammer and Pick at noon and 2 p.m., and the Nordic Dancers at 1 and 3 p.m. Neil and Jack will perform in the Bishop Hill Park at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Of course, traditional Swedish food will be in abundance. Traditional treats may be sampled by visitors in the park. The Bishop Hill Old Settlers’ Association will serve colony stew and rice pudding. The Bishop Hill Heritage Association Swedish Sausage Dinner will be served by Colony Store beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday.
And the Bishop Hill Volunteer Fire Department Pulled Pork Meal will begin at 5 p.m. on Saturday – this meal is a fundraiser for 2013’s Jordbruksdagarna. Vendors will sell farm produce, pumpkins, pioneer popcorn and more items in the Bishop Hill Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Visitors can explore Henry County’s agriculture with an Antique Tractor Show at the Henry County Historical Museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
All Bishop Hill restaurants, shops and lodging will be open. The Bishop Hill Museum, with original paintings by 19th century Bishop Hill resident Olof Krans, will be open both days of the event.
Jordbruksdagarna is sponsored by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; the Bishop Hill Arts Council, which co-sponsors the music and dance performances; the Bishop Hill Heritage Association; and numerous local businesses.
Bishop Hill was founded by Swedish religious dissidents in 1846 as a “Utopia on the Prairie.” Many of the original colony buildings remain today, and many of the residents are descendants of the original settlers. The Bjorklund Hotel, Old Colony Church and Bishop Hill Museum are administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (www.Illinois-History.gov).