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Amish Acres closing their doors on January 1

(Photo supplied/ABC 57)

NAPPANEE, Ind. (AP) — An official says northern Indiana tourist destination Amish Acres will close at the end of the year after 50 years in business.

Executive Director Jeff Kitson of the Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce said Friday he received a letter from founder and CEO Richard Pletcher saying his family is retiring at the end of 2019 and will close Amish Acres after its New Year’s fireworks show.

Kitson says the business will likely go to auction in early spring if the family hasn’t found a buyer by then.

The Nappanee site includes a bakery, meat and cheese shop, arts and crafts boutiques, a theater for stage plays, an inn with 62 guest rooms and a restaurant featuring traditional Amish cooking. Kitson says more than 5 million people have visited.

The complex in Nappanee is the only Amish farm listed in the National Register of Historic Places according to AmishAcres,com. They opened to the public in 1970.

Statement by Diana Lawson, chief executive officer of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau:

We are saddened by the news that Amish Acres will be closing at the end of 2019. We are forever grateful to Richard Pletcher and his family for the tremendous contributions they have made to the Nappanee area and Elkhart County. Richard Pletcher’s leadership in the areas of tourism and hospitality helped put the Elkhart County destination on the map for visitors and laid the foundation for the strong position we are in today.

From the very beginning, Amish Acres was a pioneer and leader in Elkhart County in highlighting exceptional experiences as a cornerstone for tourism. Amish Acres honored the history and lifestyle of the Amish, preserving an important piece of our heritage. From the Restaurant Barn’s Threshers Dinner to the incomparable live performances at the Round Barn Theatre to the annual Arts and Crafts Festival and many artisan shops, Amish Acres created unforgettable memories for the countless families who visited.

While this is a loss for the Elkhart County area, the city of Nappanee and the surrounding area will continue to be an outstanding destination for visitors and residents. Entrepreneurs much like Richard Pletcher have been investing in Nappanee, opening new businesses and restaurants, building community gathering places, and welcoming a new generation of visitors to experience what makes the city special.

The Amish Country experience in Nappanee, Middlebury and Shipshewana continues to be in good hands through the leadership, expertise and innovative spirit of those inspired by Richard Pletcher’s vision.

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