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The fun of getting lost in a big corn maze

Posted on October 9, 2013 by Taber Times

With nine acres of corn to get lost in, the Lethbridge Cornmaze was a hoot and a holler. Especially, when I had to scream like a little kid when I couldn’t find my way out. Like the saying reads on the official website, “If you really get lost, don’t despair, we will be harvesting in November.” According to the website, there is a kids’ maze, a trivia maze (so, brush up on your 4-H and agriculture information) and a big maze, which takes about 20 minutes to two hours depending on your maze-ability. The southern Alberta nearby attraction is open until Oct. 26. So go get lost locally, if only for a few hours. Located four kilometres north of Park Lake.

Remember to allow for at least one hour to finish the mazes.

Not only does the cornmaze have mazes — it also has a petting zoo, a playground, a cow train, a giant slide, hayrides, fresh fruit, a snack shack and plump pumpkins in the fall. The petting zoo features traditional farm yard animals such as donkeys and pigs plus more exotic animals such as peacocks and llamas.

From the moment you arrive at the entrance to the fun, actually the ride to the cornmaze is quite an adventure too, venturing out of town for a few hours of pure entertainment — it is both exhilarating and you’re a tad bit unsure if you’ll find your way out of being in the middle of corn as tall as you. Speaking of entrances, the entrance to the family fun centre is rustic with barnwood surrounding the front with pumpkins and a cartoon corn cowboy welcomes guests as to say, “howdy folks.”

I took my kids to the cornmaze on a Wednesday at about 5:30 p.m. It was just starting to get a wee bit darker and I have to say, the cornmaze is a wonderful way to spend a cool brisk fall eve with family and friends. Some visitors packed lanterns and flashlights in case it got too dark to find one’s way out of the mouth of madness. Upon arriving, a group of about 20 individuals from Cardston were willing to give the cornmaze a try.

As it got later in the evening, voices throughout the mazes got noisier and louder, as maze enthusiasts ran and walked to find an end and exit to one of the many mazes. While walking through one of the mazes, the group I was with would shout, “Marco,” as we awaited a response of, “Polo,” to let us know we were not alone in our noble quest for freedom. The task simply made everyone feel more at ease and it was reassuring, as well. But overall, it was a ton of fun.

During the evening visitors could race to the look-out tower, which was a great vantage point to see others still making their way out and to offer the others pointers in exiting the man-made abyss. The look-out also provided employees of the cornmaze a place to find lost boys and lost girls, if need be.

I had a chance to speak with the owner of the tourist attraction, Theo Slingerland, before entering at my own risk (don don don). He mentioned on a busy day between 300 and 900 people will be attracted to the must-see southern Alberta fun fest, like moths to a flame.

Visitors can also purchase pumpkins, of all shapes, sizes and varieties direct from Slingerland’s pumpkin patch. Mini-pumpkins, ghost or white-ish pumpkins or traditional fair plus cornstalk arrangements for decorations, and gourds. My kids and I picked up some mini-pumpkins, one of which sits atop my computer screen to say “Hey, it’s almost Halloween.”

One aspect of the cornmaze I believe worth mentioning is the silly but funny outhouse washrooms available to visitors. Think home on the range or “Little House on the Prairie.” The outhouse facilities were rustic with “Bulls” and “Cows” labelled on each, to represent boys and girls. A true homage to country living on the farm.

Slingerland also said recent gale force winds destroyed many parts of the mazes but the mazes are still operational and serve their purpose. They are though, to the eye, less aesthetically pleasing than if the winds and Mother Nature spared the Lethbridge Cornmaze.

So why are we, as adventurers, drawn to roadside attractions such as cornmazes, haunted houses and pumpkin festivals close to Halloween? Well, first off — corn, pumpkins and scares are all a part of fall, Thanksgiving and All Hallow’s Eve. Secondly — the holiday spirit, whether it’s eating an overabundance of gobble gobble or donning a cape and fake fangs — is alive in all of us, if you believe in those kinds of things.

Venturing out of the town and/or city to enjoy a few hours on a farm in the middle of a cornfield is time well spent, especially with those of a like mind. Who doesn’t like traipsing through someone else’s farmland through cornstalks? Unless that person has allergies and then maybe traipsing through someone else’s cornstalks isn’t necessarily the greatest idea.

Maybe, it’s in our nature to go outside of our comfort zones. To risk life and limb. If even for a few hours, 20 minutes out of town.

Whether it’s seeking solace in the middle of a well-manicured cornmaze or summoning up the courage to tip toe through a haunted mansion or hall or sleeping in a pumpkin patch on Halloween night — we humans, like to mix it up, well some of us do. Others tend to stay on the beaten path rather than slip off of it from time-to time.

Of course other local attractions include the haunted mansion in Sterling, the flashlight cemetery tour put on by the Galt Museum in Lethbridge and the upcoming haunted hall in Cranford near the end of the month, just in time for spooky Halloween 2013.

Other Halloween treats to indulge in is to; dust off the old vintage Universal Monsters collection on DVD; eat a bowl of Franken Berry, Boo Berry or Count Chocula cereal; watch an episode of “The Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror” with Zombie Shakespeare; perhaps cuddle up on the couch with a significant other and partake in the many horror movie classics such as “John Carpenter’s Halloween,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Friday the 13th” or Ben Affleck’s “Gigili” co-starring Jennifer Lopez (truly horrifying); go to a cool costume soiree or better yet, host one; or sit in a dark candlelit room while reading a tale of terror from Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King or Anne Rice.

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