Reed Travel Features
BIRD-IN-HAND, Pa. -- Visitors interested in learning more about
Pennsylvania Dutch Country can do so through a multimedia
attraction in Lancaster County.
The Amish Experience Theater is located in the Plain & Fancy
village on Route 340.
The production combines the latest in special effects with the
traditional story of the Amish people and their centuries-old
The theater presents an original screenplay called "Jacob's
Choice," which chronicles the saga of an Amish family from its
flight from religious persecution in 16th century Europe to
modern-day Lancaster County.
The main character is a teenager struggling between the old ways
of his ancestors and the temptations of modern life.
The show features 3-D imagery, holographs and surround
projection to bring the audience into the action.
Other special effects, such as roaring cannons and real smoke,
add to the drama and fun.
The production is the brainchild of Bette Ranck, president of
Amish Country Tours; Brad Igou, editor of Amish Country News, and
Charles Romito, founder and owner of the Pennsylvania Renaissance
Faire and Mount Hope Estate & Winery.
The partnership also is responsible for reopening the Amish
Country Homestead, which is the replica of an Old Order Amish home
in Plain & Fancy village.
"We really think there is an educational value to the show, and
we hope that visitors will go out with a lot more understanding of
the Amish people and their culture," said Ranck.
"People really seem to respond to the fact that the Amish were
persecuted during the time of Martin Luther, and they also can
relate to the immigrant experience."
The theater is expected to enhance the experience of the more
than 5 million visitors who come to Lancaster County every year,
she said, adding that thus far between 250,000 to 300,000 people
have seen the show.
The Amish Experience Theater is open daily and seats 175
Discount packages that include theater admission, a Homestead
tour and a guided bus tour of the Amish countryside are
Ranck and her partners are working on a school curriculum that
would work in tandem with the show, she said.
"There is nothing else like this being done in the area," she
Tickets are $6; tiered group rates also are available. Packages
are commissionable to travel agents.
For more information on the Amish Experience, call (800)
441-3505 or (717) 768-8400, Ext. 20. For information about
Pennsylvania Dutch Country, call the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention
and Visitors Bureau at (717) 299-8901.