NAPPANEE, Ind. (WANE) —Amish Acres will soon reopen under new ownership, and some new changes are planned.
The 50-year-old business was auctioned off early in February. Former Congressman Marlin Stutzman, John Kruse, and Jason Bontrager bought the entertainment center tract with included the Round Barn Theatre, a 400-seat restaurant, two historic log cabins, and other buildings for $1.55 million.
“We came to Amish Acres after we learned that it was for sale and the team just fell in love with it again,” said Stutzman. “It’s just a beautiful place. We are excited about the possibilities and the future here at Amish Acres.”
Stutzman and his partners had been looking for a theater to buy in the Midwest. The group was looking at a theater in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but the deal fell through. Soon after, they learned of the auction of Amish Acres, a place Stutzman said holds several memories for him.
“I actually proposed to my wife after bringing her to a show here,” Stutzman said. “So we have some sentimental value. I grew up on a farm in LaGrange County. Northeast Indiana is home to us. I think Amish Acres just represents all those neat things about agriculture but it ties in things from the city.”
The group, which also owns Kruse Plaza in Auburn, said they plan to continue to honor the site’s history and legacy, but will add a few changes. When they reopen, they plan on producing more original shows in the theater. The restaurant will also move toward farm-to-table and buffet-style, and the group also plans to hold more festivals and weddings at the property.
Stutzman says they hope to reopen Amish Acres in time for Easter weekend, April 11-12. The group is also partnering with the owners who purchased the neighboring hotel and the local tractor club who bought the homestead and 60 acres behind the property.
“This is something that has been here 50 years,” Stutzman said. “It’s been a big part of the community and the state. We want them to come here and just be able to relax and enjoy their time here, take in a show, have a great meal, do some shopping, take a tour. There is still going to be a lot of farm feeling here.”
Officials plan on hold a press conference on March 4 to unveil more changes to the historic site. Then, on March 5 at 6 p.m. in the Round Barn Theatre, the group will host a special night for both former employees wishing to return to Amish Acres and any new people who may be interested in pursuing work at the historic farm, any of the various shops, the restaurant or the theater.
To learn more about Amish Acres, click here.