Twists, turns, dead-ends and countless circles cut into thick, 10-foot-tall corn can lead to hours of fun getting lost inside a maze of maize. At agritourism sites across Alabama, farmers have worked diligently since spring designing intricate paths in preparation for fall patrons.
DeKalb County farmer Stephanie Evans has created a corn maze for her family’s “Down on the Farm” agritourism stop in Rainsville for nine years. Using GPS to map the field, she creates her own free-hand design with a computer and cuts the stalks with a mower once they reach about waist-high.
“I think the most difficult part is coming up with a new design every year,” Evans said. “This is the first year I went outside the box and didn’t do a farm design. This year we have monkeys cut into the maze.”
Evans said she enjoys puzzles, and creating a six-acre corn maze is a fun way to express her creativity.
“I kind of break the maze design into halves and just make sure there’s at least one line connecting the two,” she said. “Even though I designed it, I can still get lost.”
Cullman County farmers Rusty and Beth Daniel use their childrens’ interests as inspiration for corn maze designs at their 4D Farms.
“We have three young boys who love the Dukes of Hazard, so that was our design last year,” Beth said. “This year, it’s a barn. We try to do something that’s interesting to kids.”
The couple hires a company to create the maze and sprays the corn instead of mowing to make the pathway. Beth said they work hard to keep the maze looking nice and clean.
“If this kind of work wasn’t rewarding, it would be harder to do, but this is so gratifying,” she said. “Living in a rural area, it’s easy to take for granted that some kids aren’t around farm animals or farming in general. We love to see families come and spend a day together, enjoying the outdoors. It’s just a great thing.”
At Aplin Farms in Geneva County, farmer John Aplin has a completely free-form design for his maze. He also encourages visitors to call ahead before their visit to the country to make sure the only place they get lost is inside the corn maze.
“Ninety percent of the calls I get on a Saturday are giving directions to people who got lost using GPS to find our farm,” Aplin said.
Click here for a list of Federation farmers with corn mazes. Federation members can add their maze to the list by emailing email@example.com with details.