How a nationally recognized corn maze in Lancaster County is created

Lancaster

RONKS, Pa. (WHTM) — Cherry Crest Adventure Farm’s nationally recognized corn maze is one of the longest-running corn mazes in the country. It spans 5 acres of land and includes 2.5 miles of paths that form an image.

Jack Coleman, owner of the farm, explains how this massive maize maze is made.

“It all starts the year before,” Coleman said.

In the fall, the previous maze is harvested and a cover crop is planted in the field. Then in the spring, the cover crop is taken out and the corn for the new maze is planted.

This year, the corn was planted using no-till farming, which decreases soil erosion and keeps the pathways firmer and less muddy. Rather than planting the corn in the pattern of the final maze, Coleman and his team plant it across the entire field. The paths are created later.

Because of the cool weather this spring, this year’s corn went in the ground on Memorial Day. On July 2, the day the maze opened, the corn was about thigh-high. In two more weeks, Coleman says, it will be over people’s heads.

But backing up a little bit, Cherry Crest’s paths aren’t just random. They create an image that can be seen from above. Cherry Crest works with the American Maze Company to turn its image into a maze design.

The design is mapped out on paper and divided into smaller grids. Then Cherry Crest team members divide the cornfield into a grid, as well, and then they use paint to mark the paths on the field.

“No fancy GPS system here — just plain old math,” as Cherry Crest puts it.

Once all the paths are marked, Coleman and others go through the maze and remove all of the corn they don’t want, creating the maze pattern.

“That’s considered doing it the old-fashioned way,” Coleman said. “But it’s one of the things where you do it long enough, you get good at it.”

This is Cherry Crest’s 26th year offering a corn maze, and at this point, Coleman says they can remove all the unwanted corn in a day.

The maze itself is impressive, but it’s also more than a simple maze. Throughout the course, there are several other activities like a cable walk, slides, and photo ops. There’s even a cafe in the maze where explorers can stop for snacks and drinks. Those larger structures are placed in the maze before the corn even starts to grow.

The corn maze opened today, July 2, with the start of Cherry Crest’s summer season. Guests can come visit the popular attraction through the summer and fall. At the end of the fall season, the corn is harvested and used for animal feed, and the process of creating the next maze begins.

The 2021 maze is titled “Thanking Our Hometown Heroes.” Coleman says, “It’s a thank you to our first responders, our local heroes, so fire company, police, medical people. [It’s] just a big thank you for all we’ve been through this past year.”

An aerial rendering of Cherry Crest Adventure Farm’s 2021 corn maze design

Guests can check out Cherry Crest’s 26th Annual Amazing Maize Maze, along with all the other activities the site has to offer, Tuesday-Saturday throughout the summer. More information is available on Cherry Crest Adventure Farm’s website.

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