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Field of screams

‘Cornfusing’ mazes offer
Halloween fun for area visitors

By Konnie McCollum
Contributing Writer

(October 2006) – One day while he was relaxing and reading a farm magazine, Chris Browning of Milton, Ky., saw pictures of some interesting corn mazes that farmers were making in their corn crops. While he thought it was a good idea, he really didn’t get interested in doing it himself for another seven years.
But last year, he decided he would make a maze in his own corn crop and see what happened. “I just got this crazy idea and tried it,” he said.

Cornfusion

Photo by Don Ward

Chris Browning of Milton, Ky., says it may
take visitors a while to find their way
through “Cornfusion” corn maze.

He rents the property on which he built his corn maze because it is closer to the road than his 60-acre tobacco farm. His “Cornfusion” maze, located on Milton-Bedford Pike right off a sharp turn of Hwy. 421 on the Milton hill, was more successful than he imagined. In just four weekends, including a rainy one, more than 800 people wove their way through his five-acre corn maze filled with twists and turns. “Things went really well,” he said, so he thought he’d try it again this year.
Cornfusion will open at 1 p.m. to dark on Friday, Oct. 13, and continue those hours on Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. The maze will be open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. The cost is $5 per person. Children under 10 are free with a paying adult.
Last year, Browning said the most popular aspect of his maze was the haunted maze that he did after dark. Once again this year, from dark until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, the corn field will become “haunted.” Scary spooks, creepy crawlers and all sorts of other ghoulish delights await nighttime visitors to Cornfusion.
Browning said it takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to get through the maze, and that depends on which way visitors decide to go. There are twists and turns and dead ends throughout the entire maze. He said only one person had to holler for help last year after she was lost for quite a long time.
Up to 103 people at a time went comfortably through the maze last season. Browning said he tried to schedule groups or individuals in five-minute intervals, but many ended up in big packs because they all took the wrong turns. No one seemed to mind, though; everyone who went through the maze said it was great.
Friends, family and the Mt. Byrd Christian Church Youth Group helped Browning run the maze last year. The youth group went on a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., and he donated funds toward that trip in return for the help. This year, the Trimble County High School’s Future Farmers of America have offered to assist him.
Browning said there is ample parking at the maze and there are signs that lead right to it. Visitors at night should bring a flashlight, although there will be some available there.
In Ghent, Ky., meanwhile, Carmen and Gordon Venema’s maze will soon open for its second year. It is located right outside of the Carrollton city limits going toward Ghent at 707 Martin Rd.
Carmen said she had visited a corn maze in Michigan and decided she would try one on her farm. “Mazes are becoming a popular form of entertainment,” she said.
Last year, she was satisfied with the turnout for the maze because it was so new, but this year she hopes the word has gotten around about her maze and more people come try it out. Carmen said she received nothing but compliments last season, and most people said they just loved it.
This season, the Venemas’ maze will be open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays through Sundays during October. Admission is $5 per person. There will be a Halloween Fest from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 28-29, with food, games, and a petting zoo featuring farm animals.
Last year, Carmen said her maze was designed in the shape of the state of Kentucky. This year, she said it is much different, and “people will just have to figure it out.” There are lots of twists and turns and wrong directions, so it could take some people quite awhile to figure it out.”
She also said there are security lights at the barn, solar lights on the road and plenty of parking on the grass. There are spots where buses and large groups can turn around, and if a large group wanted to come during the day, she would open for them.

• For information on Chris Browning’s “Cornfusion,” call (502) 682-4535. For information on the Venemas’ Corn Maze call (502) 347-9302.

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