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Amish Country News

Your Guide to Pennsylvania's Amish Country

Celebrating 21 Years!

 

 

Brad Igou

Amish Country News Publisher

Brad Igou first became interested in the Amish of Lancaster County as a tour guide and came to know some Amish personally. He spent three months living with an Amish family as he studied for his sociology-anthropology major at Ithaca (NY) College. Brad helped with farmwork, attended church services, visited one-room schools, and prepared papers for college.

After graduating with highest honors from Ithaca in 1973, Brad spent three years in Costa Rica. As a Peace Corps volunteer, he developed agriculture in rural areas of Guanacaste.

Later Brad was an English teacher in Japan for eight years. He lived in Kyoto with a Japanese family, taught at a private Episcopal girls high school, directed a local English language center, and wrote articles on Japanese culture, art, and religion for the English-language publication Kansai Time Out.

Back home in Lancaster, Brad was employed by Amish Country Tours and started reading and compiling writings from the Amish periodical Family Life. He has become president and co-owner of the Amish Experience, a center interpreting Amish culture to visitors. Brad was deeply involved in writing and producing Jacob's Choice, presented at the Amish Experience Theater. This multimedia story tells of an Amish boy's decision to join the church and explores Anabaptist history, nonresistance, and adult baptism. The Amish Country Homestead, also on the property at Plain & Fancy Farm on Route 340, is the only Amish house open for touring that has been designated a Lancaster County "Heritage Site." He is still involved in creating new and iunusual tours for visitors, most recently the acclaimed Amish VIP (Visit-In-Person) Tour that gives visitors a chance to meet and talk with local Amish where they live and work.

Brad is currently president of the Amish Experience and has served on the board of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition, he has been proud to be president of the board of the Lancaster Community Concert Association for several years.

In July 1993, Brad presented a paper "Traditional Family Functions and the Amish" at the international conference on Amish society at Elizabethtown College. He continues to compile information on the Amish and as the publisher of Amish Country News, Brad contributes monthly articles to this visitors guide.

In1999 Brad's Book The Amish in Their Own Words was published by Herald Press. It is a unique book consisting of writings by the Amish, allowing them to speak "in their own words." It is available locally at the Amish Experience, Plain & Fancy Farm and the Bird-in-Hand Bake Shop. It may also be obtained through Borders, Barnes & Noble, from the publisher (1-800-759-4447 or e-mail), and online at Amazon. You can read excerpts from the book in the articles The Amish Speak.

In 2001, Brad was invited to speak on two panels at the international conference "The Amish, Old Orders, and the Media," presented by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, June 14-16, at Elizabethtown College. 

In 2005, Brad was instrumental in organizing and promoting the "Witness Tour" with the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau. The tour attracted visitors and media coverage from around the world.

Since publication, Brad's book has frequently been referenced in other works about the Amish, as well as in the media, having been recognized as a unique contribution to literature on the Amish. It also received the prestigious Angel Award. Brad is currently working on a completely new second book of writings by the Amish, similar to his first book.

Brad believes other cultures offer a window and new perspectives on our own, and that respecting and understanding different cultures should enrich our lives, not divide us. That's what makes Lancaster a special place for him.

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