NAPPANEE - A popular northern Indiana attraction will soon close. Dick Pletcher, founder and owner of Amish Acres in Nappanee, told the Goshen News late last week the 50-year-old business and tourist attraction will permanently close at the end of the year and be auctioned off in the spring.

Pletcher says the closure will be permanent following the fireworks celebration on New Year's Eve. He called the move a retirement after 50 years in business. "I think 50 years is a good run. We’ve had fun,” Pletcher told the publication.

Diana Lawson, chief executive officer of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau, issued a statement over the weekend on the closure:

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.

According to the Amish Acres website, the attraction features the restoration of the Stahly-Nisley-Kuhns farmstead, which is the only Amish farm listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It opened to the public in 1970 and also features attractions such as The Round Barn Theatre and the Restaurant Barn.