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Elkhart County, IN
Elkhart County, Indiana, offers a mix of urban and rural living with a population of nearly 200,000. The large Amish population contributes to the local economy, drawing tourists to learn about their conservative lifestyles and to buy their fine handmade crafts and food. Numerous recreational vehicle manufacturing facilities contribute to the top industries of the region which has earned the county the title “RV Capital of the World.”
Pioneers began building homesteads on the Elkhart Prairie in 1829, among the Chippewa, Potawatomi and Ottawa Indian tribes. Although no clear documentation exists defining the origin of the name Elkhart, the strongest theory argues the county was named after Shawnee Chief Elkhart, father to Princess Mishawaka. Another city located nearby is named after his daughter, Mishawaka.
The cities and towns that make up this county today include Elkhart, Middlebury, Goshen, Nappanee, Bristol, Millersburg and Wakarusa. Many parks, museums and annual events keep residents and tourist busy. The Amish craftsmen, farmers and merchants draw crowds throughout the year, but even more so during the Amish Acres Arts and Crafts Festival. Music lovers enjoy the Jazz Festival and Rhapsody in Green Summer Festival. The Elkhart County is also home of the second largest 4-H fair in the entire United States.