Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival, 2012

This venerable four-day show put on by the Pletcher family in Nappanee, Indiana, for half a century sits in an idyllic setting of an Amish farm around a picturesque lake, with lush grass, folksy buildings and even a barn converted into a theater. On-site camping, showers, easy set-up, nearby parking and a lavish reception were just a few of the benefits extended to exhibitors.

The well-promoted show got lots of visitors, looking for inexpensive and unusual objects, trinkets and gifts. Many craftspeople were seasoned professionals, with traditional and novel country folk art work. A couple of other puzzle makers offered classic, simple wood puzzles from olden days. Kadon's colorful, shiny display looked like something just arrived on a spaceship from the future and attracted lots of players. The first two days had perfect weather.

Saturday, on short notice, a huge storm moved in. Booths closed and secured as best they could. Some artists even packed up and moved their precious goods into vans and trailers. The Kadon crew zipped down the walls, added extra weights at corners, and made a run for the van parked behind a windbreak hedge. From relative safety we watched the wind, rain and lightning batter the land. It went on for hours through the night, and then a second wave came in. In the next county, less than 20 miles away, actual tornadoes plowed through. So it was lucky that only a few rows of tents got blown down. Our Trimline tent withstood it all. Flimsier tents buckled and folded up like broken toothpicks and crumpled napkins. It was Amish Acres' worst storm in 40 years. We got a couple of shots of the darkening sky:

On Sunday morning the survivors picked up the pieces, patched things back together, and the show went on.

On a brighter note, for the festival's golden jubilee Kate presented the family with a special edition of the Poly-5 puzzle with a "50" embedded in it in gold-tone frosted mirror. Festive fun for all three generations of these hard-working folks.


We were astonished to see what artwork won first prize. The judges had many choices, as each exhibitor had placed three samples of work into the large exhibition tent. It must have been difficult, choosing among so many diverse and excellent offerings. Here's their winning entry—a metal cow:

We may not want to do shows in quite so rustic a setting in the future, even though the folks were all warm and friendly, camping in the van in that nice fresh air was a fine experience, and the portajohns were kept excellently maintained. We need a few more bridges to that cultural demographic, or perhaps a balloon flight into the past.

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©2012 Kadon Enterprises, Inc.