AMISH ACRES ARTS & CRAFTS FESTIVAL
LaVern and Richard Pletcher produce a clothes line art show with local student’s watercolors in front of Pletcher Furniture Village during Sidewalk Days in September. Donuts and lemonade are given away to visitors. Dick’s involvement in Indiana University’s Little 500 Bicycle Race is the festival’s inspiration. Dori Crane and Joseph Wrobel bring paintings from Nappanee Park Department Summer Art Classes.
Artist Theodore Good is employed to expand the art show to include work of regional professional artists. The Old Stuckman House was painted up like a Victorian Lady and John Hinton created a walk through exhibit. Local kids were hired to sell pretzels on a stick, etc. Some of them picketed the store after the event demanding more money.
The art show is expanded on Locke Street with Amish jams, jellies, hams, and hex signs. A sports car rally and art auction were held. Money belts were found in the crotch of a tree weeks after the event. Merchants upset because restrooms were being used by visitors. Tony Plunket becomes master of ceremonies in his Irish leprocon suit. First vendor, lapidary out of his trunk.
Countryside tours, factory showroom tours and Amish buggy rides are added to the event. An Amish bake sale was held in the Best Schoolhouse. The first Kentucky Fried Chicken in Elkhart County catered food for the festival. Dale Fleming’s Kout’s Feed Mill oil painting becomes first Best of Show prize purchased by the Festival.
NIPSCO ran a photo essay about the festival. McCormick Motors loaned Fruhauf trailers to store paintings. The Thorne rooms’ exhibit was brought to the festival by Kroehler Furniture Company. Nelson Gongwer brought his experimental chicken barbeque machine to the festival. Indiana Sesquicentennial Purchas Prize given, painting donated to Nappanee High School.
Art Show renamed Village Arts & Crafts Festival. Chicago tribune ran a feature article on the festival. Three inches of rain. Amish Church hold bake sale in former Best One Room School for Countryside tours.
The Stahly-Nissley-Kuhns farmstead purchased to become Amish Acres. First Marketplace held in downtown Nappanee streets and alleys.
Festival visitors provided shuttle service between the downtown festival and Amish Acres. First tours of the house given. Homemade ice cream was made in Amish Acres barn by Freida Hulmuth and her Amish Church. The original Restaurant Barn was under construction. Neil Armstrong lands on the moon.
The festival was moved to Amish Acres. The gazebo was located in front of the Greeting Barn and the marketplace was in the orchard. Charles Schreiner’s “Andretti at Indy” wins Best of Show.
The Marketplace spilled across the lane toward the pond. The gazebo was moved to the north side of the orchard.
Storm winds destroyed most of the tents set up for the festival on Wednesday night. The Fort Wayne Tent and Awning Company sewed torn tents throughout the night for the Thursday opening. The Log Cabin W.H. Best & Son Meat and Cheese shop was moved to Amish Acres and restored.
Bob Ralston, of the Lawerence Welk Show, played the organ in the Entertainment Tent. The Log Cabin Fudgery and Soda Shop was moved to Amish Acres and restored. The replica Borkholder Church buggy shed was constructed. The Chauncy Thomas Blacksmith Shop was moved to Amish Acres. Road Run held with finish around the pond.
Richard Nixon announces his resigns as president of the United States of America, Friday night, August 9th. Festival comes to standstill and artists gather around the gazebo and small television to watch the historic event unfold. Nappanee Centennial celebration brought the giveaway of a Penny-Farthering bicycle was given away. Everybody had a beard. The Gift Shop Barn was built. Blacksmith shop moved. Lynn Frederick brought tape of his band, DeKalb String Band. Amish Acres maintenance shop was constructed.
Fudge and Soda Shop log house was built along with the W.H. Best Meat and Cheese Shop. The Beer Maple Syrup Camp and Nappanee Ice House were moved to Amish Acres and restored. The Seven Windows Food Shed was constructed to serve Seven Sweets & Sours. First Three Dimensional Best of Show Prize awarded to Robert Smoger of Bloomington for a Sterling Silver Necklace.
The Mint Still was moved to Amish Acres and restored. Patty Hearst is found guilty of armed robbery of a San Francisco bank and Apple Computer Company is formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Restaurant burns, spared back deck used for festival entertainment. New restaurant opens August 1st, two weeks before the festival.
The Greeting Barn was rebuilt on foundation of previous restaurant.
The festival marketplace surrounds the entire pond. Gazebo moved to the edge of the pond. Market Street and Walnut Street Houses moved from downtown Nappanee to Amish Acres.
Johnny Rutherford wins his third Indianapolis 500 in a revolutionary ground effects car. Pac-Man is released.
Sandra Day O’Conner, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States
Chariots of Fire wins Best Picture and three other Academy Awards. Time Magazine’s Man of the Year is given for the first time to a non-human, the computer.
Michael Jackson performs “Billie Jean” and introduces to the world the moonwalk. Robert Lutes becomes first and only Best of Show winner from of Nappanee for his Walrus bone stainless steel knife.
The Space Shuttle Discovery lands after its maiden voyage. Scott Sowers wins Best of Show with Hammer Dulcimer, the first show he ever entered.
Coca-Cola releases New Coke, which lasted less than 3 months.
Wagon Shed constructed for buggy ride loading station. Plain and Fancy began in the Locke Township Meeting House with four actors and a pianist. It is now in its 26th season having been performed over 3,400 times.
Aretha Franklin becomes first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Diane Sowder of Fort Wayne and Gary Weatherwax of Middlebury win Best of Show Prizes.
The Inn at Amish Acres is built. The Inn opened its doors and the first couple stayed May 6th. Plain and Fancy in Locke Township.
The popular Stables are added to the east side of the farm’s pond. Best of Show “Edna” soft sculpture mistakenly sold in Amish Acres Cow Shed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 3,000 for the first time ever.
Barn Loft Grill opened. The Frank Aker Round Barn was moved to Amish Acres and restored to become The Round Barn Theatre.
William Jefferson Clinton becomes the 42nd President of the United States.
The Nappanee Inn was built one mile west of Amish Acres on U.S. Highway 6. Jenni Wysong becomes the festival’s Marketplace Director.
Repertory theatre started With Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, Plain and Fancy, Godspell and Annie.
Coy Jankowski and Robert Smoger first inductees into Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival Hall of Fame.
Graceful Duck Paddle Boats added to the pond.
Google is founded in Menlo Park California.
Roger Haas, watercolorist, Frank Greco, painter, and Henry Niles, Silhouette Cutter inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Millennium Dome opens in London.
Alan Larkin, professor of fine arts at Indiana University in South Bend and Joyce Ebert Davis, horticulturist at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago judge the Competition.
U.S. Postal Service holds dedication ceremony for its Amish Quilt commemorative stamps during the festival. Amish Acres graphic artist Jeff Stillson designs the cancellation stamp. Stamps can only be bought in Nappanee, Indiana on day of dedication.
Indiana’s Shortest Parade held with Northwood Red Regiment Marching Band, Mayor Thompson’s 1954 Nappanee Smoky Stover Fire truck and Fireworks.
One Room German School House moved to Amish Acres. First Festival press conference held in the school. Marian & Ed Kelly from Conklin, Michigan and Lorenzo Padilla of Spring, Texas win $1,000 Best of Show purchase prizes.
B&O Railroad crossing guard station moved to Amish Acres and restored. Stephen Gubi, magician has Children’s Entertainment Tent Stage named for him and enters the Hall of Fame.
Charles Sizemore wins third Best of Show Purchase prize, first since 1986. The first YouTube video, Me at the zoo, is uploaded.
Elton and Jane Hummel, puppeteers, have Children’s Entertainment Tent named for them and enter the Hall of Fame.
Douglas Grant, art patron, connoisseur and collector and Ingrid Gaber, Visiting Assistant Professor at Herron Art Institute judge the Competition. Entertainers Lynn and Beth Frederick, LaMonte Heflick and Dan Barth inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival Best of Show Collections loaned to The Nappanee Center and the Nappanee Public Library. High gas prices prompt motor scooter giveaway. Delores Quint and Jimme Floyd inducted into the Hall of Fame, after 30 and 28 years as exhibitors respectively.
Beer Garden opened next to the Entertainment Tent. Promotional partnerships established with CVS/pharmacy and Kroger Supermarkets. Fred Simic, Amish Acres first employee in 1969 enters the Hall of Fame.
Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom Exhibit hosts over 25,000 visitors, second most in 15 state Midwest tour. Gooseberry Patch Cookbook authors signed autographs in the Cow Shed Pasture Tent. Promotional partnership established with Martin’s Supermarkets.
VanDells’ Rock and Roll Concert held on the Americana on Parade Stage. Visiting Chinese woodcarvers from Dong Nang, China, sister city to Elkhart County, Indiana, bring precious works to the festival.
CAPS Elks are displayed during the festival and auctioned off in October to benefit the Child and Parent Services of Elkhart County.
Golden Jubilee 50th Anniversary Festival produced. 50 Gold Flags surround the farm's pond. Champaign reception and party held for all artists and invited guests. 2012 Hall of Fame Golden Anniversary Class includes festival pioneers Dori Crane, Theodore Good, Ollie Stutzman, and Dale Paul Culp.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary festival in 2012, Senator Ryan Mishler presented a Senate Resolution from the Indiana General Assembly, commendations from the Indiana House of Representatives, amd a personal letter from Governor Mitch Daniels and founder Richard Pletcher was named a Distinguished Hoosier by Governor Daniels. Additional recognition to the half-century achievement included a key to the City of Nappanee and recognition from the Nappanee Public Library and the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors' Bureau.
Max Gwin was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Apple Appealin' apples were painted in the Competition Tent throughout the festival The Amish Countryside Shops continued to grow. Linda Bennett and Reinhard Herzog and Sujatha Timmons won the $1,000 purchase prizes. The festival's theme was Proud as a Peacock's Plummage.
Joy Johnson, master quilter for four decades in Amish Acres Gross Daddi House, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She was escorted by her daughter Barb Braniff, son Fred Johnson and Reverend Frank and Jennie Ramirez.
Two new awards, called Artiste Awards, were intoduced. The first went to Mayor Larry and First Lady Linda Thompson. The Mayor is retiring from his elected position after five terms of four years each, 20 years of service to the Nappanee Community. The second went to Kathy Miller, Director of Operations, Amish Acres. She was recently named one of eighteen receipients of the Lt. Governor's Hoosier Hospitality Awards for 2014. She is to receive her recognition during the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.
Scott Chalfant from Cowden, Illinois, first year participant, won the $1,000 Two Dimensional Best of Show Award for his Wood Intarsia "Indian Motorcycle" and new artist Crystal Summers of Hamilton, Ohio won the three Dimensional Best of Show Award for her Rising Phoenix Goass "Sea Anemone".
Rise N-Rolls Donuts and Ben's Pretzels were added to the food vendors for the first time. Brian Fry and Scott Allen were Parade Grand Marshalls. The festival experienced four days of perfect weather. Friday's surrounding storms and warnings sent visitors scattering. Before the Internet and cell phones, everyone would have stayed and never been the wiser.