BISHOP HILL — Bishop Hill invites everyone to join in the Lucia Nights celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8.
This Swedish tradition is based on a legend of Saint Lucia, Queen of Light. During a famine in Sweden, on the longest and darkest night of the year, Lucia appeared wearing a long white robe and encircling her head was a crown of candles. Legend has it that Lucia appeared on a ship laden with food. When the ship was unloaded, both it and Lucia vanished. Girls today wake their families on Dec. 13 dressed in a white robe and wearing a crown of candles carrying a tray of Lucia buns.
Attractions will include free musical performances in various locations in town. Businesses and museums will have a Lucia girl serving cookies. Around the village, each building will have a single candle in each window, and sidewalks will be illuminated. Special Christmas gifts will also be on sale.
Lucia Nights will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 with the lighting of the park Christmas tree. The Cantabile String Trio will then perform in the Vagn Hall Galleri from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
On Dec. 8, the Mountain Men will perform from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Vagn Hall Galleri. There will also be an old fashioned barn dance at the Colony School beginning at 7 p.m. The Rusty Pickup Band will be performing. All dances will be taught and called by Gail Hintze and Jim Hicks. Tickets are $5 per person. Beginners are welcome and no partner is necessary.
On both Friday and Saturday night, the Bishop Hill Community United Methodist Church will hold its annual soup and chili supper beginning at 4:30 p.m. until they run out. The cost is by free will donation. On both nights, Hammer and Pick will play at the Steeple Building from 6 to 8 p.m.
Bishop Hill is located 150 miles southwest of Chicago and 20 miles east of Interstate 74 in Henry County. For more information, call 309-927-3311 or 309-927-3899, or visit its website at www.bishophill.com.
This festival is sponsored, in part, by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.