Corn maze debuts at Buttonwood Farm

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Griswold - posted Mon., Oct. 10, 2011
Visitors enter the corn maze at Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, which is in its inaugural year. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Visitors enter the corn maze at Buttonwood Farm in Griswold, which is in its inaugural year. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

Buttonwood Farm, long a hotspot for summer visitors thanks to its annual sunflower festival, is now drawing fall crowds as well.

The farm’s corn maze debuted last month, a bit later than was originally planned. The maze was originally scheduled to open Labor Day weekend, said farm owner Duane Button, but tropical storm Irene forced a change in plans.

“The storm kind of hurt us quite a bit,” he said. Button and his wife, Kim, had to re-tool the maze to deal with wide, flattened swaths of corn stalks. Opening day turned out to be Sept. 17.

“The maze is in two halves, and the back half is not damaged so much,” Button said.

Sprawling across 7.5 acres of corn, the maze begins under a wooden bridge of sorts, which serves as both an exit stairway and an observation platform from which viewers can see the maze’s design. Button said that a company based in Utah assisted in designing and cutting the maze and offered ideas for supplementary activities. “We get ideas from them and we do the rest,” he said.

Maze visitors can pick up one of several “passports” that serve as guides through the twisting trails through the corn stalks. “Corn cops” are available to help the lost and to enforce the rules, which include an injunction against profanity – “Our corn has tender ears,” says a sign.

Besides walking the maze, visitors can tour the fields on a hayride, scramble over a towering structure built of hay bales, play in a giant “sandbox” filled with dry corn kernels, and race rubber ducks by furiously pumping water into a trough.

Youngsters can ride the “cow train,” with Holstein-painted cars pulled by a farm tractor. They can also meet a friendly chicken and a dozen or so pigs, rooting through the dirt in their enclosure. And those looking for the perfect fall decoration (or dessert) have a field full of pumpkins awaiting selection.

The corn maze, located at 1963 Glasgo Road, is open through Oct. 31. Hours are Friday from 3 p.m. to dusk, and 10 a.m. to dusk Saturday, Sunday and holidays. It’s also open by prior arrangement during the week.

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