How The Maze Is Made
How the Maze is Made
You might have visited Lancaster’s favorite Amazing Maize Maze many times, but do you know how the corn maze is made each year?? It’s a yearly process that we’ve worked hard to perfect. And while there’s always more to learn and new ideas to try, we’ve pretty much got it down to a science. Read on to find out how we make our corn maze each year!
Step 1: Planting
In late May, often around Memorial Day, Farmer Jack plants the corn in very straight rows, both vertically and horizontally. This makes the corn extra thick, so it’s difficult to see from row to row!
Step 2: Grid System
As soon as the corn is planted, all the rows are counted and marked out in a giant grid system using baler twine. The squares are 12 rows high and 12 rows wide. One side of the field is numbered from 0-600 and one side is lettered from A-L. All the rows are accounted for, and at any given time you can pinpoint a specific intersection of rows.
Step 3: Large Implements
All of the large implements are marked out and placed in the maze using the skid loader and tractor. This includes the bridges, the tower, the slide, the Corn Café, and more! Anything that has to be dragged on the ground must be placed before the corn starts to grow, so the stalks won’t be damaged. Usually this happens the very next day after the corn is planted, or even later the same day!
Step 4: Plotting
Once the corn stalks have started to poke through the ground, the maze design is digitally overlaid on a grid. Each section is zoomed in and printed out so you can count each individual row while plotting. It is then transferred to the field using graphing to plot the points. No fancy GPS system here—just plain old math! Using spray paint and flags, all the paths are marked. We put giant Xs on the ground to indicate which sections of corn stalks need to be removed.
Step 5: Corn Removal
After the paths have been marked out, the employees go through and remove the unwanted corn. A board pulled behind a tractor or a steam roller helps to pack down the dirt paths. This ensures that most of the dirt won’t be washed away when it rains. It takes 8-10 employees working for 2-3 full days to finish plotting the design and removing the corn. And it all has to be finished before the corn gets too tall!
Step 6: Post Pounding
Anything that requires a post must have a hole dug, including the mailboxes, photo ops, Kernels of Knowledge signs, and many of the activities. Some of the holes are dug by hand, while others are dug using a motorized post hole-digger. The photo ops are all hand-painted in our shop to reflect the current year’s theme.
Step 7: Taping
Right before our summer season starts, the maze paths are lined with colored ribbons to show what part of the design you are in. The paths will have to be re-taped at least one other time throughout the season, as the corn grows higher.
Step 8: Signage
All sorts of computer-made signs are created, printed and laminated to help guide guests as they enjoy the maze. This includes the Kernels of Knowledge information, signs that explain how to do various activities, labels, and much more. Other signs are created in-house and then printed through local sign-making companies. These are usually more durable and are able to withstand severe weather and last for several years.
Step 9: Stocking
Not only does the Corn Café get fully stocked with food, drinks, and merchandise in preparation for opening day, but we also stock the mailboxes and Victory with the proper map pieces.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
There are always finishing touches in the maze that are completed in the final days leading up to the first day… trash cans are placed, registers are programmed, activities are tested, electricity is installed, the maze soundtrack is created, and much more!
The corn maze at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is all ready for opening day! In the coming weeks, an aerial photograph of the maze will be taken to ensure that the corn stalks have all grown according to plan. Our corn is a special breed that grows extra tall and lasts extra long… all the way to November! After the farm closes for the season, we will harvest the corn and use it to feed our animals over the winter or sell it to other local farmers.