By Josh Yoder
Moving on is never easy, even when it’s for the best. This spring, the Amish Country Theater started their 2018 comedy season in their old home, a retrofitted space in the upstairs of the old Holmes County Flea Market in Walnut Creek, patiently waiting on construction crews to finish the interior of their custom facility in Berlin.
“The tricky thing was, as it always is with construction and inspections, that you never really quite know an exact date will be that a project is complete,” said Braden Conn of the ATC.
After receiving the go-ahead from inspectors in July, theater employees spent five days transferring technological equipment from the old theater to the updated space at the Encore Hotel and Suites, where patience was also required during the late nights that it took to get everything back up and running again before the next weekend’s shows.
According to Conn, the success of this year’s regular weekend shows, “Bet the Farm” and “Swine & Dandy,” have seen an influx of viewers from both foot traffic from nearby stores and the hotel and the returning customers, too.
“People love the live bluegrass music, singing and comedy with the two brand new shows, so whether they’re coming for the first time ever or coming back for another summer, people are appreciative of the content,” Conn said. “We’ve increased our roadside appeal, and people have seen the building under construction for a while, so they’re coming in to check it out.”
As with any new building, the theater still needs time to fully settle. “There’s little odds and ends that need to be wrapped up, but for the most part, everything’s fully functional and we’re just optimizing things,” Conn said.
While the theater may have moved zip codes, they haven’t changed their style. The comedy remains for each of the family-friendly shows. Ventriloquist Ken Groves is a treat in and of himself with comedy supreme from the mouths of handmade dolls. The award-winning shows include a bit of music along with a heavy dose of light-hearted comedy. It has been likened to the Amish Country version of the hit “Hee Haw” that was popular in the late 80’s on Saturday night.
The Amish Country Theater will continue to run “Swine & Dandy” on Tuesdays and Fridays. This show features the comedy of Lynyrd as well as Groves. The show also includes a spin-off of Beatles tunes by a group of men known as the Jonas Brother’s and the vocal stylings of Udder Harmony. You won’t want to miss Lynyrd on the trumpet! “Bet the Farm” is set for Thursdays and Saturdays until November and includes the work of Ken Groves as well as a quilting mystery and the Jonas Brothers. Both shows include quite a bit of audience participation and lots of opportunities for the hiccups.
For more info about the Amish Country Theater, find them on Facebook or call 1-888-988-7469. Lots of information can also be found online at amishcountrytheater.com. The theater is located at 4365 Ohio 39, Berlin (Millersburg).
This story originally appeared in the September 5, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.