Lilyfest To Hold 30th Celebration Of Gardening And Gathering

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ROCKBRIDGE, Ohio (WOUB) – Roberta Bishop started the Hocking Hills Bishop Educational Gardens with her husband over 30 years ago, and since then Lilyfest has grown to include art, music, food and even Vikings.

Lilyfest will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 13200 Little Cola Road in Rockbridge, though this year participants have to schedule a reservation to visit because of COVID-19, and are asked for a $5 donation. 

Regardless, Bishop said she is excited to see the return of people this year.

A photo from the picturesque Bishop Educational Gardens, where Lilyfest takes place each year. (WOUB Public Media/Emily Votaw)

“I think the thing that I liked the best is when people come in and … they come from the busy city life and they get here and they kind of go ‘Oh’ and just relax,” Bishop said. “That’s neat.

They find it very peaceful and calming here. Very healing.”

This year Lilyfest will feature an array of artists and their work, including Bishop’s own pottery. There will be music from local musicians, including young performers from the Artista Rock School, and some local food favorites like Chef Moe’s On The Go.

Lilyfest also hosts The Lost Viking Hoard, a Viking reenactment group that comes to the festival each year and hosts events like axe throwing while they dress in their regalia and take part in traditional activities.

Bishop and some friends had a pottery art show in Worthington years ago, and when she began working on the gardens near Hocking Hills after a tree fell, her husband suggested moving the show to the gardens, and from there, like the flowers, it “grew and grew and grew,” Bishop said.

The gardens are made up of a number of day lilies, hostas and hydrangeas. They sit on three acres of land among ponds and sculptures, and guests can wander through the expertly crafted garden created by artists and gardeners alike.

“Remember that it took a lot of work to get them the way they are now,” Bishop said. 

The garden is cared for by master gardeners and Ohio certified volunteer naturalists, though Bishop said the butterflies help out as well.

Bishop herself, over 30 years later, is still frequently found in the garden. 

Those interested in attending the festival can visit the Lilyfest website here.