Living in rural Minnesota, we were surrounded by towering, green stalks in the spring and bristly brown stalks in the fall.
Every year during the early 1990s, there were news reports of children lost in cornfields. Anyone who’s ever walked too far into a field knows how easy it is to get turned around. So, when the corn maze craze cropped up, I was a little skeptical. However, this agritourism industry proved that you could enter a cornfield, have fun and find your way out.
Corn mazes continue to be an attraction for families during the fall. Missouri farmers use these types of attractions to diversify their operation. With just a short drive into the country, anyone can find a corn maze. Most mazes not only have mowed paths and a few arrows, but also safety protocols and strategically positioned perches with staff available to help guide you.
But creating a maze is no simple task. For some, it involves hiring companies with technology. For other farmers, it is a handwritten piece of paper and good old-fashioned flags to stake out the design. But no matter which preparation these corn maze crafters choose, there is always one problem — topping last year’s design.
Celebrating a birthday of sorts
This year, a few Missouri corn mazes are getting into the bicentennial spirit and helping the state celebrate 200 years of statehood.
Eagle Fork Farms in Moscow Mills, Mo., designed a maze to honor its hometown. Despite heavy early rains, wind and less-than-ideal growing conditions, the family still created a corn maze with a bicentennial theme that is set to open Sept. 10.
Or check out Uptown Farms near Brookfield. They also are celebrating Missouri becoming the 24th state in the union. Matt and Kate Lambert will open their farm maze Oct. 2.
Remembering our servants
Parker’s Corn Maze in Hannibal pays homage to 9/11. It has been 20 years since the attacks where thousands of Americans lost their lives. It’s unique, intricate design features a fireman, a flagpole and the Twin Towers.
It will open aptly on Sept. 11. The family is also offering $1 off its $9 admission for all military, police, firefighters, emergency and medical staff. If you serve in any of these roles, all you need to do is show your badge for your discount.
Kudos to Parker’s Corn Maze for recognizing the sacrifice and service of those emergency responders during 9/11. But I also think back to this same group of service-minded individuals who spent countless hours scouring the cornfields of Minnesota searching, rescuing and caring for those lost, then found, children. They are everyday heroes and must never be forgotten — no matter what state they serve in.
So, check out a corn maze near you. Celebrate our state and those who serve and sacrifice for its people.