Corn mazes and fall farm fun usher in the beginning of the season. STARTING TODAY
A look at five fall mazes that are outstanding in their field
Corn mazes and fall farm fun are big business in Tennessee. Of the 75 corn mazes in the state, 28 of them have sprouted up in East Tennessee. Corn mazes, hayrides and family trips to pick your own pumpkin the patch are known as “agritainment.” This form of agricultural tourism presents a way for farmers to make ends meet while fulfilling the desires of city slickers longing for a farm-fresh experience they may have only heard about.
This popular form of agri-tourism brings economic activity to rural areas through visitor expenditures on goods and services. Corn mazes have become such popular supplemen- tal income, says Modern Farmer magazine, that it has spun off several businesses that exist solely to help farmers build and run their mazes.
Following is a look at five regional farms and the fun waiting there.
BLOWING SPRINGS FARM
Maze Theme: “Up to Out Ears in Fun” Where: 271 Chattanooga, Valley Road, Flintstone, Ga. When: 10 a. m.-7 p. m. Fridays-Sundays, Sept. 28- Oct. 18 Admission: $ 10 ages 4 and up, includes four tokens For more information: 706- 820-2531 Online: www. BlowingSpringsFarm.com Rock City’s Enchanted MAiZE is celebrating its 17th year of fall fun at Blowing Springs Farm. This maze is cut into 10 acres nestled at the foot of Lookout Mountain, just 6 miles from downtown.
Go on a hayride, get lost in the new corn maze design or play one the new supersized board games like giant dice or giant check-
ers. Visit the Pumpkin Market and purchase a pumpkin to take home.
Most Blowing Springs Farm activities require one token per person, such as The Enchanted Corn Maze, Bagby’s Critter Corral, pedal carts, cow train, hay ride, duck races, corn crib and corn slingshots. Additional tokens are three for $5 or 15 for $20.
The Enchanted Maize has been selected as a Top 20 Event for 2018 by the Southeast Tourism Society.
GUTHRIE FARM AND CORN MAZE
› Maze Theme: “Made in Tennessee” › Where: 490 County Road 67, Riceville, Tenn. › When: 11 a. m.-7 p. m. Fridays, 11 a. m.-7 p. m. Saturdays, 1- 6 p. m. Sundays, Sept. 29- Oct. 28 › Admission: $ 10 ages 13 and up, $8 ages 3-12; military discount of $2 with ID › For more information: 423- 650-2939 › Online: www.tnpumpkinfarm.com Admission to this maze includes a hayride to the pumpkin field, animal petting barn, obstacle course and Hippity-Hop Track. New this year are duck races, tractor dig, Redneck Horseshoes and adult tricycles (as well as some for kids).
Pumpkins are sold separately for 50 cents a pound.
MAYFIELD CORN MAZE & PUMPKIN PATCH
› Maze Theme: “Mayfield Loves Local” › Where: 257 Highway 307, Athens, Tenn. › Hours: 9 a. m.- 4 p. m. Wednesdays- Fridays; 11 a. m.-9 p. m. Saturdays; 1-7 p. m. Sundays through Nov. 3 › Admission: $ 10 online or $ 12 at the gate for ages 3 and up › For more information: 423-746-9859 › Online: mayfieldmaze.com The Mayfield Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch offers three mazes ranging from a big maze for adults wanting a real challenge to a kiddie maze for little ones that takes about 15 minutes to work their way through.
Farm fun includes watching pig races, jumping on the Jumping Pad, sliding down the zip line, a hay jump and corn box. New among the 30 activities are Hay Bale Dodgeball and Kiddie Fun Zone.
All general-admission tickets include hayrides up to the Pumpkin Patch, but pumpkins and flowers require an additional fee.
OLD MCDONALD’S FARM
› Maze Theme: Corn, hay and toddler mazes › Where: 16705 Coulterville Road, Sale Creek › When: 10 a. m.-7 p. m. Saturdays, noon-7 p. m. Sundays through October › Admission: $ 12.50 ages 4 and up › For more information: 423-531- CORN › Online: oldmcdonaldsfarm. net
Kids grow up reading and singing about Old McDonald’s Farm, so it’s an exciting adventure for children to visit the Sale Creek farm and see what’s there for themselves.
This year the farm’s fall fun will include a special “flashlight corn maze” the weekend before Halloween. Hours will be 5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26; 7-10 p. m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 27-28.
There are two payment options that weekend: Arrive earlier in the day and pay $14.50 for extended hours, or pay $8 for the hours of 7 to 10 p.m. only. Extended-hours admission includes corn maze, combine barn, fire pit with s’mores (sold separately), gem mine, concession stands and moonlight hayride.
POLK COUNTY RIVER MAZE
› Maze Theme: “Beyond Amazing — The Old Copper Road” › Where: 1371 Highway 64, Benton, Tenn. › When: 5-9 p. m. Fridays, 11 a. m.-9 p. m. Saturdays, 1-5 p. m. Sundays through Oct. 28 › Admission: $ 11.90 ages 3 and up › For more information: 423- 650- 0710 › Online: www.TheRiverMaze.com The theme chosen for this 14th season of the River Maze pays tribute to “The Old Copper Road: The Route That Built a Region.” The Old Copper Road crossed the Ocoee River on the property where the River Maze is located.
“We think it’s exciting that the place where the copper wagons crossed the river is located on our place. We want others to share in the awe and beauty of our historic farm,” says Chris Stewart, manager of The River Maze.
An interactive QR Checkpoint Scavenger Hunt, which requires either a smartphone or a pre- printed card, has been developed to coordinate with visitors’ trips into the maze. As guests wind their way through, they search for hidden checkpoints and keep track of them on their digital punch card. To solve the puzzle of the “Mystery of the Missing Payroll,” visitors must take a photo at each checkpoint and answer the riddle as they leave the maze.
There’s no app to be downloaded. Just scan the QR code at the maze entrance to get started.
The soybean maze will feature answers to questions that a curious child might ask, since its theme is “The Wonder of a Child.”
In total, there are five mazes: the corn maze, soybean maze, “Spookley Maze” that focuses on anti-bullying, “The Wacky Noodle Maze” and “The Jumping Maze.”
There is a new obstacle course called Farm Chores Frenzy and some inflatable jumping animals. Cow train rides, corn cannon shots, face painting and pumpkin painting will be available through the purchase of tokens.
For visitors who come for pumpkins only, the trip to the pumpkin patch will be $5 along with the price of the pumpkins picked.
Visitors can continue to enjoy their trip to the maze even after they leave. Each generaladmission ticket includes a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase at Western Sizzlin’ locations in Ooltewah and Dalton, Georgia. Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.