You have a little bit longer to experience the World’s Largest Corn Maze out in Dixon. Farmers Mark and Matt Cooley have decided to extend the event one more weekend— instead of closing on Halloween it will now be open through Sunday, November 4th.
On a windy Friday morning, Happy Chan and Lu Li park in the dirt lot at the farm, preparing to plunge into the dense thicket of green corn behind them. “I hink I’m pretty nervous… Lu’s O.K. he’s not nervous but I’m nervous. Just because it’s so overwhelming, it’s like forty acres.…”
Still Chan is looking for something magical… “We want the Harry Potter experience…” But no enchantments helped create the forty acres of bewildering twists and turns. It’s all hard work. Vegetable farmers Mark Cooley and his brother Matt plant the corn in June… Mark plots the maze on a spreadsheet. It takes two weeks to cut the corn with special weed eaters. Mark says they love the creative aspects of the project but it all came about to help the business. “You know we started off with a pumpkin patch with the idea that we’ll sell pumpkins. Nobody came (laughs). So we decided we had to have something to draw people here.”
And the extra work is finally paying off. The brothers have been creating mazes since 2001— last year was the first time they made a profit. Mark estimates this year about five-thousand people visited after Guinness named it the world’s largest temporary corn maze. This group of first graders from Pioneer Elementary School in Davis is venturing through the maze—on a carefully guided tour… They’re particularly impressed with a staircase inside that takes them above the corn. From there you can see miles of farmland all the way to the freeway. The trip was a hit with six-year-old Danielle Bollinger “I thought it was really interesting, fun. (Jenny: what was your favorite part of the corn maze?) I don’t really know. That’s a really hard decision…” But when I venture on my own into the corridors of corn high above my head all is quiet. I could use a carefully guided tour now... I definitely need more than just the map in my hand… I discover that turning right a lot—which I seem to like to do—does not help… “No! I have ended up in a dead end I think, yes, it looks way too narrow…” I do end up getting out but not with any triumph—I push my way through the plants and end up back in the dirt parking lot… “Next time I’m going on a hayride, that’s all there is to it…” The maze is a temporary—If you want to brave it you have until Halloween. The corn will be harvested in March.