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Corn mazes take shape for fall fun

Donna Thompson, Special to the Daily Sentinel
Posted 9/17/22

Autumn in Central New York brings cooler temperatures, bright orange pumpkins, Halloween, and, for the more adventurous, corn mazes.

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Corn mazes take shape for fall fun

Posted

Autumn in Central New York brings cooler temperatures, bright orange pumpkins, Halloween, and, for the more adventurous, corn mazes.

These mazes, cut out of cornfields, have been popular attractions for several decades, and area residents can try navigating their way through any or all of them.

Here’s a sampling:

Remsen Depot Corn Maze

While most of the area’s corn mazes are offered by local farms or farm stores, the Remsen Depot Corn Maze is an exception; it’s a fundraiser for the Remsen Development Corporation, a 501(c)3 organization.

The annual corn maze is set to open Sept. 24 and will be open weekends through Oct. 9. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. with flashlight nights scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Fridays, Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, and Saturdays, Oct. 1 and 8. (Participants must bring their own flashlights.)

Those who want to explore the maze can buy tickets – $8 for adults, $6 for children under 12 – at the Remsen Depot, 10613 Depot St., Remsen. They will then receive a ride on a hay wagon to and from the maze. A snack bar and gift shop will be open at the depot when the maze is open.

There will be no hay wagon on Sept 24, 25, however, because the depot will be taking part in the local Festival of the Arts and offering parking to visitors.

The design of the 6-acre maze changes each year.

“This year it’s in the shape of a maple leaf and the trails are the spines going out in different directions,” said John Secor, of the Remsen Development Corporation. There is a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half of trails. “We have somebody in a tower to give directions if somebody gets lost or confused so they can find their way out.”

The annual corn maze here was initiated more than 20 years ago at the suggestion of the late Rev. Wade Jarrett, who was the United Methodist minister in town at the time. Initially, members used stakes to mark the design to be cut in the cornfield, said Secor. Now Lee Green, of Lee Green Consulting, uses a drone to provide high-tech assistance to guide him as he cuts the pattern with a skid steer loader.

Before the maze opens, Secor said, he and Al Heywood will go into the maze to clean up the pathways.

For more information, visit remsendepot.com.

Pumpkin Junction, Sauquoit

The approximately 6-acre COrNFUSION Corn Maze is located next to the Pumpkin Junction pumpkin farm and Halloween store at 2188 Graffenburg Road, Sauquoit.

“You can use the GPS on your phone to navigate through it, and it’s free,” said co-owner Scott Davies. He added that this year’s design spells out Pumpkin Junction 2022.

Visitors will also want to check out the Halloween store, located in a two-story barn filled with pumpkins, gourds, hay bales, bundles of corn stalks, Halloween lights and decorations, and treats such as pumpkin fudge.

Then there’s the Monster Ghoul Bus, a school bus mounted on large truck tires that’s been popular with both kids and adults.

“It’s our version of a hay ride,” said Davies.

Pumpkin Junction is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 31.

For more information, visit pumpkinjunction.com or call 315-794-4604.

Cullen Pumpkin Farm, Richfield Springs

“Who will be the first to conquer the corn maze this year?” asks a posting on the Cullen Pumpkin Farm’s Facebook page.

Tom Shypski, one of the brothers who own the pumpkin farm at 587 Cullen Road, Richfield Springs, said the approximately 2-acre corn maze is free and open daily during the farm’s regular hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Oct. 31.

The maze is different each year, said Shypski, adding that his brother lays out the pattern.

On weekends, the family-owned farm also offers wagon rides and a special “pumpkin train” ride around the farm’s play yard for younger children.

Customers can pick their own pumpkins or choose from those already on display. There are also corn stalks and 21 varieties of gourds for fall decorations.

For more information, visit cullenpumpkinfarm.com or call 315-867-3878.

Savicki’s Farm Market, Clinton

Savicki’s Farm Market, 3295 State Route 12, Clinton, is gearing up for some fall fun that will include a corn maze.

“I’m working on it now,” said owner Eric Savicki. The paths in the 5-acre maze will be labeled with street names and those entering the maze can follow a map or simply navigate their way through on their own after paying a fee, he said.

He expects to have the maze ready for visitors by Sept. 24 and is planning flashlight nights in the maze on three Fridays in October.

Hay rides are another weekend attraction, and the price of a ride includes a u-pick pumpkin and two ears of ornamental corn or popcorn. These rides are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 24 through Oct. 15.

In the meantime, the market plans to have apple cider doughnuts available on weekends starting Sept. 17. Fall treats will also include apple cider slushies.

Savicki’s also has a free straw maze around a children’s play area in the greenhouse.

Wagner Farms, Rome

“Our corn maze has been open since July and goes until the end of October,” said Ron Wagner, owner of Wagner Farms, 5841 Old Oneida Road, Rome, with an events center at 5895 Old Oneida Road.

He described it as a 2 ½ -acre “easy in-and-out” maze. While most mazes open in the fall, the one at Wagner Farms opens while the corn is still growing and provides an additional attraction when people come to check out the farm’s fields of sunflowers and enjoy special event nights.

There are actually two corn trails at the farm, with one designated for special events, such as the UFO landing complete with aliens set for Sept. 24, and haunted events coming up on Oct. 15 and 22.

What really sets the Wagner Farm apart is the fact that the entire farm is handicapped accessible, including the corn maze, which features wide grass walkways – no mud. When wagon rides are offered during the summer, these too are wheelchair friendly and the farm maintains a fleet of wheelchairs, wagons and a tricycle for visitors to use.

Wagner recommends checking the farm’s Facebook page for the latest on upcoming events. For more information, visit wagnerfarmsny.godaddysites.com or call 315-339-5182.

Here are some other places to check out:

Will’s Cackleberry Castle Pumpkin Farm, 1175 Hillsboro Road, Camden offers a family-friendly Spooky Walk through a decorated corn field in addition to hayrides, bounce houses, a talking pumpkin, animals, live music and Halloween displays. Opening day is Sept. 16. Visit cackleberrycastle.com or call 315-245-0104 for more information.

Lincoln Davies Building Supply, 8689 Summit Road, Sauquoit, will host a fall festival with a corn maze, hayrides, and food weekends from Sept. 17 through Oct. 2. For more information, visit https://LincolnDavies.com/fall-festival/

Critz Farms, 3232 Rippleton Road, State Route 13 South, Cazenovia, offers a corn maze and plenty of fall activities on weekends along with its u-pick apple orchards. For more information, visit www.critzfarms.com.

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