Corn Mazes

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COLUMBIA - There are a few things that make people feel like fall is the best time of the year. For some, it’s the changing leaves or cooler temperatures. For others, it’s all the college and pro football games. Corn mazes are another fall-exclusive activity, but one that hasn’t been around for very long.


The American Maze Company says it created the first corn maze in 1993 in Annville, Pennsylvania. Since then, Corn Mazes America says it has recorded more than 800 corn mazes across the country.


But mazes are very similar to labyrinths, which have an ancient beginning. Labyrinths were common in Greek and Roman culture. Depictions of labyrinths can be found in artwork from that era. For example, the classic story “The Minotaur” features a labyrinth, the home of a monster, and the protagonist must solve the labyrinth's puzzling routes in order to defeat it.


The corn maze of today may not have monsters lurking inside, but beating the puzzle and finding a way out is a thrill for many. Sam Bangert said his favorite thing about corn mazes is the complexity.


Erin Diedrich, who co-owns Lloyd’s Pumpkin Patch in Ashland with her husband, said corn mazes are “a tradition for everyone.”

Though Kent and Marilyn Steatler were first-timers at Shryock's Callaway Farms corn maze this year, they said they enjoyed going through with their grandchildren. 

Kent Steatler used a wheelchair to get through the maze, but the winding dirt paths didn't stop the group from having fun.

Marilyn Steatler said, "It's a fun day; it's a beautiful day. What's not to love about it?"  


Lloyd’s Pumpkin Patch opened just four years ago, but Diedrich said the farm has been in the family for five generations. Some of the family gets together each year to cut the corn maze by hand.


Shryock’s Callaway Farms corn maze is also a family-owned farm, but uses GPS to design the maze and a riding lawn mower to cut it.


Diedrich said corn mazes make sense for fall because this is the season of corn. Corn harvest begins in September and usually lasts through October - the same time corn mazes around mid-Missouri are open.


There are more than 15 corn mazes in the state.