A sight to behold

Published 3:32 pm Sunday, August 10, 2008

By Staff
Explore a 10-acre cornfield trail
Staff Writer
R&J Farm is inviting the public to “get lost” on its Amazing Corn Adventure.
Starting Sept. 6, the farm will open two corn mazes for children and adults of all ages to explore and enjoy. The farm features a “Barnyard Animals” shaped maze, which holds a twisting 10 acres of trails, and a “goat” shaped kiddie maze, designed for younger adventurers.
The mazes were designed and cut by MazePlay founder Shawn Stolworthy on Wednesday. Stolworthy draws up designs and cuts trails for corn mazes at farms reaching from California to Maine. Stolworthy cut his first corn maze on his family’s farm in Firth, Idaho, in fall 1998.
He said he heard about a local corn maze and “thought it was a pretty neat idea.”
Stolworthy and his brother devised a plan to cut a corn maze on their farm using GPS navigation.
With the help of GPS coordination, Stolworthy was soon designing and cutting intricate corn mazes at other local farms. His unique hobby soon turned into a full-time business after Stolworthy created a Web site. The Web site, www.mazeplay.com, gives prospective corn maze owners a chance to look at various maze designs and network with other maze owners.
He also gives farm owners the chance to custom design their mazes.
The most popular maze design theme is, not-so coincidentally, farm life. Stolworthy has designed hundreds of mazes.
This season, MazePlay has between 85 and 90 customers, said Stolworthy.
Regarding his business, Stolworthy said, “We have seen good growth.”
Even with the overwelming attention to detail that he gives every maze, Stolworthy usually finishes each one within a day.
According to James Rosele, co-operator of R&J Farm, Stolworthy started cutting the farm’s “Barnyard Animals” maze at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and was done by 6 p.m.
With the maze freshly cut, James and his wife Julie Rosele, welcomed the First Baptist Church of Washington’s youth group to take the first tour of the mazes. The Roseles are members of the church and are encouraging Amazing Corn Adventure attendees to make donations to Eagle’s Wings food pantry in conjunction with the church.
The Roseles came to church member Reggie Baker, who is president of Eagle’s Wings 2008 Board of Directors, with the idea to collect canned goods from maze visitors. According to Julie Rosele, for every two non-parishable goods that a visitor donates to Eagle’s Wings through the farm, the farm will knock $1 off admission.
Admission to the maze is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 11 and under.
Also benefitting from the maze adventure is Pinetown Rescue and Emergency Medical Services. Volunteers with the department will help run the maze, and in turn, some of the monetary proceeds from the maze will be donated to the department. James, who is a volunteer with the department and the Pinetown Volunteer Fire Department, hopes for a good turnout throughout the fall.
If maze traversers wish to do so, they can actually play the Amazing Corn Adventure in the “Barnyard Animals” maze. Each participant will be given a maze map and a punch card before entering. The map marks 12 spots throughout the maze. At each spot will be a uniquely shaped paper punch. To properly finish the maze, participants must find all 12 spots and punch their card at each one.
At the end of the maze will be a storage box. Those who complete the maze will be encouraged to put their punch card in the box and at the end of the season the farm will hold a grand prize raffle drawing for one lucky maze completer.
In addition to the maze adventure, the farm will feature hay rides, a pumpkin patch and a pick-a-pumpkin tour.
Explaining the tour, James said, “You get a hay ride and can get out and pick a pumpkin in the field.”
James said that his family is trying to offer as many activities for children as they can.