Ravens-themed family fun farm is a-maze-ing

The 2.5-mile corn maze is a great fall activity


September 15, 2005|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,SUN STAFF

Sunday's Ravens' loss aside, you love your football. And forget just once a week, you could get lost in Ravens football every day. Well, be careful what you wish for because your chance to get (literally) lost in a Baltimore Ravens-themed corn maze is here.

The North Run Farm Corn Maze in Stevenson opens Saturday for adventuresome visitors up to the task of maneuvering through the 2.5-mile trail, which winds through 5 acres of corn. While each year's maze is different, this year, the farm is offering a maze in the shape of a Ravens football helmet, a football and the words "Go Ravens."

"We started [creating] corn mazes in the fall in 2002," says Brooke Rodgers, who manages North Run Farm with her husband, Patrick. "We did the Maryland crab as our theme that year. Then the next year, we did an American eagle. Last year, we chose the Maryland farm license plate scene -- the ag tag. And this year, we decided to do the Ravens."

The Ravens corn maze was designed by Idaho maze designer Shawn Stolworthy, founder of the company MazePlay. Stolworthy travels throughout the country cutting maze designs into corn fields.

"He's developed this GPS mapping technology specifically for corn mazes," says Rodgers. "He designs whatever we say we want. We'll ask him if he can put it in our dimensions, and he tries it, and shows us a proof. And then if we approve it, he hooks up the GPS system to his tractor and goes to it. The system basically tells the driver when and where to turn. It's a very efficient program."

The Ravens design took about three hours to cut. "It's so intricate, it's amazing," Rodgers says. "When you're walking through it, you can't believe anyone could cut this in three hours. It's like high-tech farming. [Shawn] is a very entrepreneurial farmer."

So why the Ravens? Why not, Rodgers says. "We're fans. But we really wanted to think of something that was fun for everybody -- something that had an appeal to both adults and children. Something that [said] fall. Something that was Baltimore. So we thought the Ravens were a great [theme] to do."

Participants get a punch-card ticket when they enter. The ticket has a map of the maze. Visitors then enter the maze and try to find six hidden spots in the maze. In each hidden spot, there is a hole puncher that will punch out a different shape on visitors' cards. The objective is to get all six shapes punched out on your card. If you're successful, you'll receive a prize at the end of the maze.

Not everyone whizzes through the maze. To help visitors, in addition to the maze map on their punch card, farm trivia questions and Ravens trivia questions are posted throughout the maze.

"If you guess the right answer, you get a good hint of which way to go," Rodgers says. "If you guess the wrong answer, we send you somewhere else."

But fear not. Even though it may seem that your adventure could become like a creepy Stephen King novel where you're destined to never escape the corn field, you will find your way out. Several "corn cops" are posted around the maze to help folks out and point them in the right direction. The cops, too, will make sure people aren't cutting through the corn or knocking stalks down.

In addition, visitors can pick pumpkins from a selection of thousands. Pumpkins, of all sizes, sell for 39 cents a pound. Visitors can take hayrides, see the baby farm animals -- cows, lambs, chickens, pigs -- and purchase gourds, cider, apple butter and more. Young children can also try a mini-hay-bale maze.

"You really get to see people come and have a lot of fun," Rodgers says. "But at the same time, learn to see another side of what farming is like in Maryland."

The North Run Farm Corn Maze, 1703 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, is open Saturday through Oct. 31. Hours are 2 p.m. to dark Fridays in September, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays in October (take a flashlight for a "Flashlight Maze") and 10 a.m. to dark Saturday and Sundays. The maze will be open during daylight hours (approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) on Halloween. Corn maze admission is $7; $5 for ages 4 to 12; free for ages 3 and younger. Hayrides only are $2. Call 410-241-3392 or visit www.northrunfarm. com.

For more family events, see Page 36.

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