By Emma Li
Besides harvesting cornfields to make renewable fuel, turning them into corn mazes adds a more interesting aspect to their usage.
I went to try out a corn maze. I went to Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch during the weekend with the Taiwanese Student Association (TSA), a registered student organization at University of Illinois. Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch is located in Rantoul, IL, with 16 reindeers and a 10-acre corn maze. This year, Mark Hardy, the owner of Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch, had decided the theme of the corn maze would be “steam”, so he cropped the corn maze into a train pattern and asked a pilot to take a picture. Audra Bishop, an employee of the ranch, says Hardy had drones that mapped out the pattern then he put flags on the ground and he walked through the paths with the machine. “He went over and over the path until it was flat and he did it himself.” Bishop said.
We were given two tasks to complete. The ranch designed one and TSA came up with the other one. For the one designed by the ranch, each maze runner was given a mission card and they had to find the 8 checkpoints in order to win the game. As for the TSA one, maze runners were divided into groups and they had to find the officers and answer their questions correctly to get a chance to draw a card. In the end, each group added up the points that they had on their cards and the winning group claimed the prize. We were asked questions about Taiwanese dramas, TV shows and weren’t allowed to use our cellphones. It was fun but tiring since we had to chase the officers around and figure out the way back.
The corn maze is not only opened during daytime, but also at night where maze runners have to find their way out in the dark with flashlights. Bishop says that the moonlight maze takes longer to complete than the daytime because it is harder to see the checkpoints. She also says that they have a new record this year that someone finished the maze in just 25 minutes when the average is 50 minutes. “It was two boys, and they do it every single year,” she said. “I think they had a method and maybe they were calling each other.”
Featured image taken by Brian Bauer
Corn maze map taken from www.reindeerranch.com
All other images courtesy of Emma Li