Lilyfest Celebrates Art, Music, and Gardening in the Hocking Hills

A festival in the Hocking Hills that combines art, music, and gardening with outdoor education is happening July 14-16 in beautiful Southeastern Ohio. Lilyfest is a three-day festival that takes places at Bishop Educational Gardens, where three acres of artistically landscaped gardens are nestled in the woods and filled with thousands of colorful lilies, flowers and plants.

Visitors can leisurely tour the gardens or take a guided hike, watch artists work, purchase plants and artwork, attend workshops, have questions answered by master gardeners or naturalists, enjoy live music, and eat delicious food.

"Lilyfest isn't your typical festival with crowds and noise," explained Dave Brimner, a pencil sketch artist whose work has been featured at the festival for years. "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

Whimsical and lighthearted clay sculptures are interspersed throughout the gardens, as are ponds and water features. Each place creates a unique experience for visitors as they walk along the grass and gravel paths, discovering what's inside each flower bed.

"They're not formal gardens. They're designed to give you a chuckle," said Bobbi Bishop, who with her husband, Bruce, donated the land to the Hocking Soil and Water Conservation District in 2008.

Lilyfest started as a backyard pottery sale 26 years ago and has grown to attract 5,000 visitors a year.

Bishop first started planting lilies when a friend - a flower hybridizer - gave them away for free. "Another man's trash is another man's treasure," she said, explaining that there are now thousands of day lilies, water lilies and Asiatic lilies on the property.

The theme of reinventing reusable materials is a common thread at Lilyfest. There are educational workshops that teach the topic, and materials have been repurposed into art sculptures within the gardens themselves. Artists who create recycled art also have items available for purchase.

More than 70 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.

The gardens are located at 13200 Little Cola Rd., Rockbridge, Ohio, 43149. Visit for directions and more information.

Dozens of other festivals and unforgettable events take place throughout the summer in Ohio's Hocking Hills region, including moonlight canoe rides, feeding hummingbirds by hand, flea markets, and the murder mystery on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad. Hocking County is home to a variety of historic landmarks and natural wonders. Visitors enjoy exploring the region's many caves, waterfalls, trails and pristine natural areas.

A wide variety of accommodations, from camping and cabins to hotels and country inns, offer plenty of affordable lodging options. In addition to numerous hiking trails, parks and forests, the Hocking Hills area offers unique gift and antique shops, canoeing, horseback riding, golf and more. Complete consumer information on festivals, accommodations and the many sites in the Hocking Hills region is available online at or toll-free at 1-800-HOCKING.

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From This Author Stephi Wild