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Amish Roots: Der Dutchman Heritage Festival at Plain City

Amish Roots: Der Dutchman Heritage Festival at Plain City, Ohio


On Saturday, May 16, I planned to celebrate Plain City’s Amish roots at the Der Dutchman Heritage Festival. I awoke to a cool, showery day: strike one. Yet I had only myself to please, as I wasn’t meeting family until later in the afternoon. Verdict: go to the festival and hope the rain held off. I tucked my umbrella in my purse.

The showers abated, so I decided to stop. Strike two: finding a place to park! Der Dutchman and Carlisle Gifts are a huge draw (“Sit down at our table and discover the comforting foods of an Amish wedding feast!”), no matter what the weather. Add a festival and you’re going to circle the enormous parking lot a few hopeless times, just as I did. I’d just decided to skip it, BUT I prayed, “Lord, if You want me to go to this festival so I can share it with my blog pals, You’re going to have to give me a place to park.” In my rear view mirror, I spotted a diner who was leaving, pulled a U-turn, and whipped into his space. Thanks, Lord!

I went inside to get my bearings and passed a gift shop display. I’m dubbing it Plain City Peace, after my Amish series set in 1971. How much more perfect could it be? Farm tools form a clock showing the passage of time, and it’s surrounded by metal peace signs. Nice! Certainly this is one of the sights the good Lord wanted me to see and share with you.

Plain-City-Peace-2The festival was just south of Der Dutchman (445 S Jefferson Ave, Plain City, OH 43064), so I struck out. This is the only time that a few measly raindrops pattered my head, but not enough to open my umbrella. I obediently crossed over a wooden bridge to enter the festival free of charge. The first display I saw offered brochures and information about Plain City. The owner of Mainstreet Treasures (150 West Main Street, Plain City) popped in just as I was asking about the tie-dyed T-shirts with ‘Plain City’ emblazoned across the front, another perfect Plain City Peace reference!

The festival was held on a sweeping green. Colorful tents and booths protected displays from the threatening rain. I just had time to notice the Der Dutchman booth that appears at the Ohio State Fair each year when I spotted people I had not expected to see—Amish! A young girl in a Kapp drove a pair of ponies around and around the grounds, giving free miniature wagon rides to the kiddies. According to the event schedule I picked up, the driver was supposed to be Andrew Coblentz from Belle Center, Ohio, so I suspect this is his unnamed sister, spelling him. She’s driving a paint pony, but she seems more interested in the Face Painting tent.


Perhaps this is Andrew, stopping to sample some wares.


And here are Andrew and his younger brothers on a mission. Next stop: ask Dad for a treat from the Der Dutchman booth, just like any English kid. They got one!


I spotted Andrew’s parents in the title photo above. The mom’s dress matches the driver daughter’s color, such a pretty blue. I call this picture Honey-Do, because it looks like she’s making a special request of her husband. That’s either John Troyer or Josh Yoder of Belle Center driving the buggy. Those names are an inside joke if you’ve read The Bargain and The Bachelor. Could their names be a clue about who The Bride will marry in Plain City Peace Three? I’ll never tell!

Oh, my! There was a lot more to see, like broom-making, blacksmithing, and corn shelling and grinding with a persnickety gas-powered motor. There was at least one other Amish couple, too. How about part two next month? Meanwhile, here’s this month’s question for you: If you could be Amish for just one day, what would you most like to do?

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Stephanie Reed (17 Posts)

Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio. Her previous books are "Across the Wide River" and "The Light Across the River." Her Amish novels include "The Bargain" (Plain City Peace, Book One) and "The Bachelor" (Plain City Peace, Book Two), available October 2014


  1. Kristy McKinley says:

    Try all the baked goods and wrap up in a quilt. I would love to have the talent to make an Amish quilt.

    • Ooh, that’s a good dream, Kristy. The nice thing about making an Amish quilt is that you would have lots of help at a certain point, huh? And I believe the ladies would be positive they could teach you and you could do it. Of course we would have no problem trying all the baked goods. We’re talented like that.

  2. Spend time in the kitchen with them baking a pie & sitting on the porch having a genuine heart to heart conversation sipping a lemonade.

  3. Melissa Barnes says:

    If I could be Amish for a day, I would want to go for a ride in their buggy along a peaceful country road, just listening to the horses hooves going, clip clop clip clop….
    I just discovered this website and what a wonderful job you are doing with it, Stephanie! It is so nice to read some peaceful words in our fast paced world we live in now.

  4. If I were Amish for just one day I think I would most like to sit down to a good Amish home cooked meal !

  5. Just some informaion for you. The Amish folks you have photographed are from Belle Center, Ohio. The little girl driving the pony wagon is Sarah Beth Coblentz, daughter of Marvin and Dorcas Coblentz. Her brother is Wendell Coblentz. He is the taller of the three boys pictured walking. Wendell is also pictured at the popcorn stand. Of the three boys walking, Wendell is the tallest. The little boy beside him with the stocking cap is his little brother Adrion. The other little boy in the blue shirt is Wendell and Adrion’s uncle, Andrew Coblentz. Yes, Andrew is their uncle. Andrew’s dad, Mahlon Coblentz and his second wife, Amy, (Mahlon’s first wife passed away suddently) had Andrew late in life. So, Andrew is actually younger than his nephew, Wendell.

    • Thank you so much for the information, gusluke! I hope the children and family get a chance to see their pictures. I used to live in Bellefontaine, so I know where Belle Center is. How funny that Uncle Andrew is younger than his nephew Wendell. You must know and love them all well. Thanks for sharing! PS Sarah Beth is very pretty and they look like a very nice family.

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