By Susan McKee
Corn mazes, pumpkin farms, and harvest festivals fill the calendar in October, providing lots of fun for the whole family.
It’s the 17th year for Blowing Springs Farm, the fall festival for Rock City in Flintstone, Georgia (just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee). Look for a cornfield maze, hay rides, cow train rides. And supersized board games like jumbo checkers and giant dice. You can take aim with a corn slingshot or visit the Critter Corral Fridays through Sundays until October 28, 2018. www.blowingspringsfarm.com
Like sports? Familiar with Indiana teams? Theme for this year’s corn maze at Beasley’s Orchard, Danville, Indiana, is Circle City Sports. Designed by Brett Herbst, it includes more than four miles of paths across eight acres. The maze is navigated through a series of Q&A.. If a question is answered correctly, you will be led in the right direction. However, if you answer a question incorrectly, you will be led in the wrong (slightly longer) direction. The maze is open Saturdays and Sundays through October. www.bagbyscrittercorral.com
Pumpkin Playground (part of Three Bears Acres in Creedmoor North Carolina) celebrates autumn through November 3, 2018, with a hay fort, pumpkin bowling, candy corn hole, hayrides, caramel apples, and s’mores at the fire pit. The season ends with a pumpkin smashing festival where pumpkins are tossed, crushed, slung, sipped and catapulted. (They also have a corn cannon!) www.ThreeBearsAcres.com
Giant Pumpkins will be on display at Michigan’s Farm Garden October 13 and 14, 2018 (it’s part of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan). These big squash weigh in at hundreds of pounds. Learn all about pumpkins as you sort varieties and answer quiz questions at the Pumpkin Discovery cart. Or try your hand at a pumpkin bean bag toss and play a unique pumpkin game “Which Vine is Mine?” to learn about how pumpkins grow. www.meijergardens.org
An October Harvest Festival takes place October 5 and 6, 2018, in downtown Boaz, Alabama – this is its 54th year. On tap are music, arts & crafts, antique car show, food court, and a children’s activity area. www.boazareachamberofcommerce.com
Three routes, sorted by age, are possible at an 11-acre corn maze at Conner Prairie, Fishers, Indiana, open now through October 28, 2018. The maze, designed by Precision Mazes of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, incorporates an image of the Headless Horseman – this year’s Halloween theme. “Headless Hallow” (an especially challenging route) is recommended for ages 11+ and only open at sundown on Halloween Festival nights October 11 through 28, 2018.
Amazing Fall Fun, Waterloo, Indiana, boasts a 12-acre corn maze, pumpkin patch, and children’s activity area. Inside, there are games to play, bridges to climb, get a birds eye view of the corn, and a tube slide. This year’s design is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of John Deere with a giant John Deere tractor named “Waterloo Boy.”
Meanwhile, in honor of the state’s 200th anniversary, the Illinois Office of Tourism is partnering with 17 farms and orchards statewide to reveal Bicentennial-themed corn and apple tree mazes that have been specifically designed and grown for the state’s Bicentennial celebration. The mazes feature people, events and landmarks that played an important role in shaping Illinois’ history including Abraham Lincoln, the Chicago skyline, the Illinois Capitol Building and Route 66. There is a complete list online. connerprairie.org/things-to-do/events/corn-maze
The maze at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Illinois, represents the top portion of the state with Lake Michigan on the right side, with a sailboat in the lake and Chicago with Navy Pier Ferris wheel. On the left we have the Mississippi River with the bridge to Dubuque, a barge going up the river, and the St. Louis arch down below. In the center, some farming operations and the State Capitol Building with Abe Lincoln’s head above. At 28 acres, it’s said to be the world’s largest corn maze, and is open through November 4, 2018. Richardsonadventurefarm.com
For fall’s tasty treats and culinary festivals, check out Road Trips for Foodies.