Amish Acres To Close Following Its 50th Anniversary Finale
Amish Acres will close after the fireworks finale of the New Year's Eve Celebration and Cabaret which concludes its 50th anniversary year. The founding Pletcher is retiring. The historic farm and heritage resort includes a 400-seat restaurant, 400-seat performing arts theatre, and numerous shops. They are all created from authentic structures moved to the site that include pre-Civil War log buildings and hand-hewn barns. The farm's land and buildings will be sold at auction by Schrader Auction Co. from Columbia City, Indiana. A January date will be announced soon.
The farm will remain open on its regular scheduled hours including the restaurant for lunch and dinner, the retail shops plus six performances per week of "Beauty and the Beast." Special events remaining include Breakfast with Santa, Meet the Characters Brunch plus the New Year's Eve event.
"This golden anniversary is a wonderful tribute to the nearly 10,000 employees who over the years have provided the best of Hoosier Hospitality to nearly five million visitors from around the world," said Richard Pletcher, founder and CEO of the company. In the last year visitors from forty countries and an equal number of states have signed the guest book in the farm's one room school. "Our purpose from the beginning has been to enlighten, educate and entertain inquisitive visitors about Amish history and culture," added Pletcher. Amish society is one of the most enduring small sects in America. Amish Acres honors the first Amish family who settled in Indiana, migrating from Ohio to southern Elkhart County in 1839, just nine years after the county was created.
Along with guided tours of the restored farmstead and domestic craft demonstrations, Amish Acres has become a culinary and entertainment destination. The restaurant's family- style Threshers Dinner menu hasn't changed in five decades and has been named "Indiana's best meal" by Travel Trade magazine.
The Round Barn Theatre produced "Plain and Fancy" for 33 years. It is a 1955 Broadway musical about Amish life and love. With over 3,500 performances, it is the longest running annually produced musical in America. 524 actors have been in "Plain and Fancy" over the over the last 24 years. Nearly 200 musicals, dramas, and comedies have also been produced. The theatre's stage is dedicated to Joseph Stein, author of Plain and Fancy and Fiddler on the Roof. The nationally known annual arts and crafts festival for 57 years has drawn 300 artists and craftsmen from across the country to Nappanee. The 2019 show is ranked the 21st best in the country by Sunshine Artist magazine and was also named, along with Elkhart County's Quilt Gardens, Destinations magazine's 2019 "Best of the Best" winners. The magazine is published by the American Bus Association.
Sixty of the farm's eighty acres was recently purchased by Nappanee Power from the Past, a non-for-profit antique tractor club. The purchase includes eighteen historical and restored buildings. The 146 year old farmstead is listed in The National Register of Historic Places. "Putting the farm's buildings in the hands of the non-profit tractor club ensures the preservation of these buildings in which we have invested five decades of stewardship," continued Pletcher, "This now allows our family the opportunity to turn the rest of Amish Acres over to the next generation of entrepreneurs."