Though not visible from the vantage point of most of the anticipated thousands of visitors in the coming weeks, this year's corn maze at Meuer Farm in southwest Calumet County contains an array of designs.
Those designs depict a chicken, barn, bees, strawberries, pumpkins, and corn in addition to identification of the major sponsors for the fourth year of the agritainment venture.
Farm owner and operator David Meuer partners with Utah-based maze designer Brett Herbst, who is involved with more than 230 corn mazes around the United States and in Canada, Poland, and other European countries this year.
With a theme of "Find It on the Farm," this year's 10-acre maze here opened on Sept. 8 and will be open daily through Oct. 31.
Visitors who make the right decisions and turns while walking the maze can complete the trek in about 30 minutes while those who end up tracking through all three miles of twists, turns, and many dead ends would be spending up to 90 minutes surrounded by the Legacy Seeds biotechnology corn, Meuer notes.
Anyone getting lost can be rescued by the "corn cops" who are among the up to 40 employees on the site during the busiest days of the season.
As handout aids for maze travelers, so-called "passports" give directions for choosing the right pathways. Each of them is a set of 10 questions - themes such as 4-H, Scouting, American history, Halloween, sports, Niagara Escarpment, and corn - which, if answered correctly, give instructions for the next turn at numbered points throughout the maze.
In addition to the major corn maze geared to the general public, Meuer Farm will again have a separate haunted corn maze that will be open on Friday and Saturday nights starting on Sept. 29.
That four-acre maze, which has a half mile trail, is being designed by Dan Cartwright of Fond du Lac, who is involved in the project for a third year as an outgrowth of the Halloween display he constructs at his home.
To expand the appeal of the haunted maze, individuals, companies, and organizations are being invited to submit design concepts, provide decorations, and schedule people to occupy an identified spot.
Ten such spots will be available and prizes will awarded to the top three entries. To take part in that venture, contact Cartwright by calling 920-602-7953 or by e-mail to email@example.com.
With the maze being open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, visitors can light their way with the help of a glowstick. They cost $2 and are to be kept by the purchasers.
As a new attraction this year, Meuer Farm will be selling bakery such as large cookies on a stick, apple muffins, pies, home-made candies and soups along with caramel apples, hamburgers, bratwurst, and pizza.
Numerous varieties of pumpkins, squash, gourds, corn stalks, and straw bales will also be available for sale.
Other activities for adults or children include target shooting with corn cannons and water balloon slingshots, plastic duck racing on water tanks, wading through a corn box, sliding down an 80-foot tube, stepping through the numeric colored lawn maze, visiting the farm animal display, or relaxing in the gazebo.
An option is to take the tractor-drawn haywagon ride which covers a course of two miles in about 45 minutes.
On a landscape that has been minimally managed for many decades except for the planting of black walnuts and a few other tree species, the route crosses Brothertown Creek, goes past a small grazing herd of Angus and Polled Hereford cattle, and provides a view of a portion of the 15 hives of Italian honeybees on the property.
Especially catering to school field trips and other youth groups are the showing of DVDs at the movie theater inside the main shed and related educational displays. Various admission prices apply according to age and combinations of attractions.
Major sponsors of the 2012 maze are Service Motors of Fond du Lac and WVBO radio (103.9).
Other sponsors are Baker Cheese of St. Cloud, Badgerland Financial, Calumet County Bank of Brillion and Sherwood, Tractor Supply of New Holstein, American Implement of Mt. Calvary, the Insurance Service Center of Fond du Lac, TH Agrichemicals, Legacy Seeds, Wisconsin Tubing, and Reinl Accounting and Mueller Plumbing of Chilton.
Meuer Farm is just off Highway 151 nine miles southwest of Chilton or a half mile north of Brothertown.
For more information, call 920-418-2676 or visit the www.meuerfarm.com
Web site. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.