Culture

Lilyfest returns to Hocking Hills this weekend for it's 25th anniversary. (Submitted photo)
Lilyfest returns to Hocking Hills this weekend for it's 25th anniversary. (Submitted photo)

Lilyfest Celebrates 25th Anniversary July 8-10


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Lilyfest, an annual event set at Hocking Hills that combines arts, music, gardening and learning, will celebrate its 25th anniversary July 8-10 this year.

The three-day festival takes place at Bishop Educational Gardens, three acres of artistically designed gardens that include ponds and sculptures. The gardens feature many varieties of daylilies, water lilies, Asiatic lilies, hostas and other plants.

The event, which started as a backyard pottery sale, attracts about 5,000 visitors a year. Attendees can tour the gardens, watch artists work and enjoy live music. The gardens, which are tucked into the woods, have many whimsical features, said Bobbi Bishop, who with her husband, Bruce, donated the land to the Hocking Soil and Water Conservation District in 2008. “They’re not formal gardens,” she said. “They’re designed to give you a chuckle.”

An informal Tea Party is scheduled for Friday, July 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. near the newly constructed Tea House as part of the 25th anniversary celebration. Tea sandwiches and cookies will be served at Victorian-era decorated tables, while pianist and singer Mary Ann Nelson performs music nearby.

Local art is a big component of the annual Lilyfest. (Submitted photo)
Local art is a big component of the annual Lilyfest. (Submitted photo)

People can visit the Tea Party to relax, and after they are refreshed, move on to the other vendors, said event organizer Karen Thompson.

“It’s our way of giving back to the people who have supported us these last 25 years,” Bishop said.

Master gardeners and naturalists will be available to answer questions and lead hikes. Visitors can purchase art and plants. More than 70 fine artists will display and sell original pieces including, garden sculptures, blown glass, jewelry, wood carvings and other works. School-age wagon pullers are available to assist visitors take items to their vehicles.

Longtime local artists including Dave Brimner of Brimner Insurance look forward to Lilyfest each year. Brimner learned how to create pencil sketches from his dad, who was a sketch artist. Brimner has been selling drawings of wildlife, barns, bridges, lighthouses and local buildings since the 1990s, and joined Lilyfest in the 2000s.

“Lilyfest isn’t your typical festival with crowds and noise,” he said. “The music is very soft and acoustic and there are nice crowds of people that come through the gardens.”

Musicians will perform Appalachian-style music on two stages. A schedule of performers is available at www.lilyfest.com. The gardens are located at 13200 Little Cola Rd, Rockbridge, 43149.

Lovers of art and music can come together for the low-key festivities of the annual Lilyfest. (Submitted photo)
Young and old lovers of art and music can come together for the low-key festivities of the annual Lilyfest. (Submitted photo)