SLOAN COLUMN: October is a most “a-MAZE-ing” month
Would you pay good money to take a long, twisting and turning walk through a cornfield? For many, the answer is a most emphatic yes.
October is the month for corn mazes. In recent years mazes have become a staple in the agribusiness industry, giving farmers a chance to bring in a few extra bucks while at the same time offering the public a chance to get outside for some fresh air and exercise before hibernating for the winter.
The attraction to mazes is nothing new. The first mazes, according to those who consider themselves experts at this type of thing, first appeared more than 4000 years ago in ancient Greece and Rome. Most, if not all of these, were in gardens.
By the 18th century, hedge mazes became increasingly popular in England and Europe, but it took some time before the concept came to America, at which point it took the form of a corn maze.
Don Frantz and Adrian Fisher of Annville, Pa., are credited with creating the first corn maze in America in 1993. The maze was constructed on only three acres of land and had 1.92 miles of pathway. It received accreditation in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s largest corn maze. And just like that, corn mazes became a worldwide fad.
The record for the longest corn maze now belongs to Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon Ca., for their 63-acre maze.
For those wanting to venture through a corn maze this year, you have lots of options. Here are some of them.
• McLeod Farms: This year’s theme is STARS on the FARM. The maze pays tribute to individuals working in or for the agricultural industry. The farm is giving $1 of every ticket sold to the non-profit, Ag in the Classroom. McLeod Farms is located in McBee. For more information, visit www.macpspride.com.
• Dargan Farms: Now through Oct. 26, Dargan Farms will welcome the public to its Halloween-themed maze.
Dargan Farms is located at 1301 South Charleston Road in Darlington. For more information, visit www.darganfarms.com.
• Thompson Farm and Nursery: The Thompson maze is 6.5 acres of fun for the family. You're in for a crazy time getting through this maze, especially in the dark if you go on a designated Flashlight Friday. This year’s theme is Not All Heroes Wear Capes.
Thompson Farm and Nursery is located in Conway. For more information, visit www.thompsonfarmandnursery.com.
• McArthur Farms: Head to Bennettsville for a family fun time at this 12-acre corn maze. Other activities include the Fairy Tale Trail, wagon rides, pumpkins, a bon fire, and more. McArthur Farms is located at 1708 Highway 38 South in Bennettsville. For more information, visit www.mcarthurfarms.com.
• Denver Downs Farm: This year’s corn maze theme celebrates the farm’s 150th anniversary. Navigate to the 12 checkpoints hidden in the maze, and answer trivia about the farm posted at each checkpoint. Denver Downs Farm is located in Anderson. For more information, visit www.denverdownsfarm.com
• Stewart Farms: Explore this a-”Mazing” multi-acre creation and enjoy a wagon ride. There’s also a pumpkin patch that promises to be even bigger than last year. You can also get lost in a full acre of sunflowers. Stewart Farms is located in Enoree. For more information, visit www.stewartfarms.net
• Clinton Sease Farm: This impressive maze is eight full acres and is open late so don’t forget to bring your own flashlight so you can explore after dark. Clinton Sease Farm is located in Lexington. For more information, visit www.clintonseasefarm.com.
• Boone Hall Plantation: Expect Boone Hall’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze this year to outdo all previous years. Make your way, if you dare, through eight acres of corn. Then take a spooky hayride, or tackle the giant slide tower and hay mountain. Boone Hall Plantation is located in Mt. Pleasant. For more information, visit www.boonehallplantation.com.
Have fun and try not to get lost.