Kathleen Erikson ran over dirt paths lined with corn, turning to her friends every now and then to yell out “This is the way! I promise.”
For the past 20 years, Lyman Orchards has been creating corn mazes with designs taken from national or regional headlines. This time, the honor went to NASCAR star and Middletown native Joey Logano.
“It had been awhile since we did a sports theme. And we thought, well, NASCAR is one of the top spectator sports, and thought it might have a wide appeal,” said Executive Vice President John Lyman III. “The fact that Joey Logano was born in Middletown and happened to be the NASCAR Driver of the Year last year, it was a great local tie to a national sport.”
Lyman also said that the maze gave Lyman Orchards a chance to promote the Joey Logano Foundation, which has invested $3 million in community organizations across the country, according to the foundation’s website.
Rather than just having guests run through the maze aimlessly, Lyman Orchards incorporated some educational aspects for those looking to learn more about NASCAR.
“Throughout the maze we have all these facts and figures about this year’s theme,” said Lyman. “So what’s really cool is you’ll learn how autoracing in the U.S. evolved and became what it is today.”
The design of the maze got Logano’s stamp of approval.
“I appreciate Lyman Orchards for all their hard work and willingness to further celebrate our 2018 NASCAR Championship season with us,” he said.
For those who are looking to run through the maze but aren’t really interested in NASCAR, Lyman Orchards offers interactive, themed quizzes that will lead guests through the maze depending on whether they answer questions right or wrong. These themes encompass subjects including Halloween, movies, local history and more.
“Right now we’re running a little ahead of last year in turnout,” said Lyman. “The key is good weekend weather.”
As it has done for the past 20 years, Lyman Orchards will donate $1 from each admission to the American Cancer Society. This effort has led to nearly $600,000 being donated to the organization.
“It’s a great experience for the whole family,” said Lyman. “It’s authentic fun. People come out, spend two to three hours in nature and just have a good time together.”
The corn maze is open through Nov. 3, Wednesday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.; weekends and holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 ($5 for those age 4 to 12).