I wanted to alert anyone in the Columbus, Dayton, or Cincinnati areas of Ohio about an event that sounds delicious and cultural all rolled into one!:) But first a little background:
Ten or twelve years ago there were no Amish in Highland County, Ohio, a rural outpost halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati. There was a small Plain presence near Leesburg, but that was it. Fast-forward to today and Highland and surrounding areas is honeycombed with Plain communities, from Old Order Mennonites to Old Order Amish to the most conservative Swartzentruber Amish. What's the attraction? Well, for one thing, the Amish are like other people in this regard. Once an area becomes "hot", it attracts many people, whether that's a favorite fishing hole, a winning sports team, or a vacation spot. Highland County has become known as a place hospitable to the Amish. Also, and this has been the big draw, the land is still relatively cheap. Anyone wanting to move there, though, should do it now because what happens is that an area becomes popular, draws a lot of people, and then that drives property values higher. I have a feeling that is on the verge of happening now in Highland.
One of the newer Amish settlements is located just south of Rock Fork Lake and about 15 minutes east of the city of Hillsboro. Only about 10 families are currently there, having moved to Highland County from the sprawling settlement of Munfordville, Kentucky three years ago.
"Land is cheaper here and there are still people who want to buy farms," said Nathan Byler, one of the community members.
With only a small group they've not raised enough funds to start their own parochial school, but that is something that will be needed in the years ahead. The settlement has nine school-aged children now who are home-schooled. But the population is expected to double next year with an influx of new families expected. As a fund-raiser for their new school, this Friday the Amish community will offer a traditional "Amish wedding dinner", a feast with all the traditional trimmings. The cost of the meal is a donation, whatever you what to pay for it. All funds go to help build a new school.
I asked Nathan what flavor of pies will be offered and he asked his wife who replied that pecan, apple, cherry, and peanut butter will be on the menu. Yum! If you are planning to come, let me know!:) I'll be there doing some sampling, interviewing, and taking some photos. Hope to see you there!