Global-positioning satellites, artistic talent and a touch of corn-plowing willpower combine to turn ordinary corn fields into destinations throughout Illinois.
“Basically, corn mazes are a giant picture that people navigate through,” says Carol Richardson, a maze operator at The Richardson Farm of Spring Grove.
Giant, indeed. This farm family operates a corn maze that includes 11.1 miles of walking trails in four sections across 28 acres, earning the “world’s largest” designation from a children’s magazine.
1. The maze-planning process each year begins with selecting a pattern, Carol said.
2. Next enters a corn maze designer, who inputs the image into a computer and determine trails.
3. Meanwhile, the farmer plants corn in two directions to create a much denser stand than traditional field corn.
4. When the plants reach 10 inches, the maze designer arrives with a tractor and tiller equipped with a GPS unit.
5. The designer uses the satellite-guided device to remove corn and blaze miles of trails within a day.
6. Farm owners remove weeds and widen paths as needed. By late summer, they have installed posts and checkpoints and prepare for thousands of visitors, who spend an hour or many more navigating trails amid 10-foot corn.