One of the many artistic displays nestled in the Bishop Education Gardens, which will host the 2017 Lilyfest July 14-16. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)

Lower Your Blood Pressure at Lilyfest 2017 July 14-16

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The Bishop Educational Gardens are the kind of place where time has the ability to stand still – to halt for a moment amid deadlines and missed phone calls and unanswered text messages.

Initially eeked out by Columbus native and retired art teacher Roberta Bishop and her late husband Bruce as a weekend retreat in the Hocking Hills in the ‘70s, the Bishop Educational Gardens provide a space for Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist classes, rain barrel workshops, winter hikes, FFA gatherings and much more. The acreage was granted to the Hocking Soil and Water Conservation District in 2008 by the couple, fulfilling their dream to provide a natural space for education of all types.

A look through some of the festive forestry of Bishop Educational Gardens. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)
A look through some of the festive forestry of Bishop Educational Gardens. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)

For the past 26 years the annual Lilyfest has been taking place in the gardens, bringing together live music, regional art, and a general curiosity and respect for the property. Roberta (Bobbi) Bishop said that the yearly affair began after she and a couple of her friends took a few adult education classes in Worthington and shortly afterwards began putting together a little Christmas sale of various artistic wares.

“Pretty soon we were doing a summer sale, which started to grow as much as the Christmas sale did – until we didn’t have enough space for it anymore,” said Bishop, who said that her husband advised that the group move their sales to the couple’s newly acquired Hocking Hills property. “We started holding it here, and it’s just kept growing and growing.”

Some of the floral artwork on display at Bishop Educational Gardens. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)
Some of the floral artwork on display at Bishop Educational Gardens. (WOUB/Emily Votaw)

This year’s Lilyfest will take place July 14-16, kicking off on Friday at 10 a.m., including the work of dozens of regional artists. Throughout the festival, attendance to which is free, attendees are encouraged to take their time wandering the premises of the gardens, taking in the art that is poised throughout the space and soaking up the sweetness of late July in Southeastern Ohio.

Food will also be on hand at the festival, with Chef Moe of Buzz In Buzz Out providing a variety of desserts, sandwiches and salads. Pap’s Ice Cream will also be on hand with icy treats including ice cream sandwiches and cones.

Stages are placed throughout the property, with one upper gardens stage and a lower gardens stage, which will be hosting live music simultaneously.

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.45.36 AM

Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 11.45.48 AM

A recreation of a Viking encampment will also be on display, showcasing the ancient people’s armor, tools, and clothing.

“This is not a food eating, frolicking, amusement ride-taking kind of festival. It’s a gentle festival that people can stroll through,” said Bishop. “A lot of people come here very tense and hyper, and here they find peace and beauty.”

Lilyfest is taking place Friday, July 14 through Sunday, July 16 at the Bishop Education Gardens, located at 13200 Little Cola Rd in Rockbridge, OH 43149.