BAKER — Leading a group of his fellow Rotarians through the Crestview Rotary Club’s corn maze, organizer Mike Carroll said, “I’ve been through here two times and I can tell you, it’s very corn-fusing.”
Corny jokes aside, there is a kernel of truth in Carroll’s comment. The 5-acre maze is bewildering, but it’s all in good fun.
“There’s going to be something for everybody out here,” Crestview Rotary Club President Pat Dingess said. “This really caters to families.”
Rotary member Bill Barnhill donated the use of his cornfield off Buck Ward Road in Baker for the maze. He also contributed use of an adjacent pasture for parking and another for the 25-minute hayride, pony rides and a petting zoo. Visitors can play “The A-maze-ing Game” in which they get punches on their admission tickets, used for prizes, by visiting different spots inside the maze.
Sharpshooters can take their three shots with the compressed-air-powered corn cannon, shooting ears of corn toward target buckets to win prizes. Carroll said the armament is comparable to his T-shirt cannon that shoots souvenir shirts from the roof of his portable barbecue smokehouse.
A $7 individual admission fee covers everything except for the pony rides and concessions, which feature Carroll’s Hub City Smokehouse Triple-B-winning barbecue. Admissions and a portion of concession profits benefit Rotary community projects.
“We’re going to use the profits for the many projects the Rotary supports,” Dingess said. “Our signature project for Rotary Clubs everywhere is polio eradication.”
Among the local projects, Dingess said, is the club’s annual dictionary giveaway to third-graders and U.S. Constitution copies presented to seventh-graders in north county schools.
Four marshals with walkie-talkies will be in the maze at all times, not just to temper any high-spirited mischief and deter cheaters who might be tempted to cut through corn rows, but also to direct lost visitors, including anyone lost as twilight approaches.
Organizers said that unlike some comparable events, the Baker Corn Maze does not have a Halloween or nighttime component, which makes it more amenable to church groups that oppose Halloween-themed activities.
“This is a fall festival event,” Dingess said. “Don’t come expecting ghosts or goblins. We’re focusing on families and are open only during daylight hours.”
Without giving away any secrets, a feature of the maze is the central pattern of the Rotary International “wheel” logo, forming a broad, circular avenue from which various paths through the maze radiate and connect.
Barnhill said the local Rotary Club directed Precision Mazes, a Missouri-based firm, to design the maze layout. The business came to Baker and cut the maze through Barnhill’s cornfield in one day using GPS-guided equipment.
“Put on your tennis shoes and come ready for fun,” Dingess said. “Flip-flops are not recommended.”
Proper footwear is important, Carroll agreed, noting, “You wouldn’t want to get corns.”
The Baker Corn Maze is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays Oct. 6 through Nov. 4. Admission is $7 per person. Take U.S. Highway 90 to Milligan, onto Old River Road, then left onto Buck Ward Road and follow the signs to the Baker Corn Maze.
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