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

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - FRONT PAGE - BY SU­SAN PIERCE

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 spierce@times­freep­ress.com or 423-757-6284.

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