Donald Driver is no longer on the field for the Green Bay Packers but he is still in the field - as the centerpiece for this year's corn maze promotion at Meuer Farm, that is.
Fresh off their recognition as the 2013 Wisconsin Agricultural Tourism Association business of the year, David and Leslie Meuer, in cooperation with corn maze designer Brett Herbst, decided to honor the now retired Driver in recognition for his 14-year career with the football team and his popularity with the public.
Herbst, a Utah resident who has designed more than 2,000 corn mazes around the world since 1997, carved an outline of Driver wearing his number 80 uniform in a portion of the 10-acre field of corn on the Meuer farm in southwest Calumet County.
This is the fifth year of a corn maze promotion at the farm.
The corn in the maze is the Legacy Seeds 5309-3000GT hybrid.
Because this is the fifth consecutive year that the corn maze has been on the same 10-acre field, that hybrid was selected for its multiple biotech traits, according to Legacy Seeds representative Jim Dassow.
Given the challenges of the growing season, Dassow is pleased with the condition of the corn in the second week of September.
With the corn maze as the main attraction, Meuer Farm opened for its autumn "agri-tainment" season on Sept. 13 and plans to be open until Nov. 3.
During that period, most of the activity on weekdays will be visits by student groups from schools throughout the region.
Leslie Meuer hopes this year's total will be about 2,500, which would be an increase of some 500 from 2012. Group reservations are available by calling 920-418-2676.
As an educational component, especially for the students, Meuer Farm shows a series of professionally produced videos on such topics as the grazing of beef cattle, the history of soil conservation practices, corn mazes, and bees and honey production.
On the weekends, the orientation is toward families and groups from churches, 4-H clubs, and other organizations.
On Friday and Saturday nights, visitors will be provided with glowsticks to help them see their way through the corn maze.
Within the corn maze, the mulch-covered pathways run for 2 1/2 miles, including many dead-ends.
Anyone who negotiates the route correctly with the help of a series of passports - a set of 10 questions giving clues for the proper turns - can complete it in about 30 minutes but those who choose wrong turns can spend an hour or more inside the maze and can be rescued by the patrolling "corn cops", David Meuer points out.
Augmenting attractions on the former dairy farm along Highway 151 include target shooting with corn cannons and balloon slingshots, climbing large square straw bales, sliding down an 80-foot tube, a lawn numbers maze, a plastic duck race course, a farm animal exhibit, wading in a box of shelled corn, playing pumpkin tic-tac-toe, and relaxing in a gazebo.
On the weekend of Sept. 21-22, Lakeshore Helicopters of Kenosha will be providing helicopter rides for a better view of the Driver tribute.
As a special promotion, the 1,000th fan on the Meuer Farm LLC Facebook page will receive a free helicopter ride for two on that weekend.
A tram takes visitors to pick-your-own pumpkin patch that started the season with a large crop of Jack-O-Lantern, pie, blue, white, and baby boo varieties.
Other fall decoration items for sale include gourds, corn stalks, Indian corn, and small straw bales.
Maple syrup and honey (raw and comb) produced on the farm are available for purchase in the Busy Bee Country Store. Other food items include jams, salsas, barbeque sauces, and goat milk soap from the nearby LaClare Farms.
Food is also available for consumption during the visit. The menu includes bratwurst, hamburgers, pizza, caramel apples, cinnamon kettle popcorn, and large pickles on a stick.
Meuer Farm's corn maze promotion also provides an advertising opportunity for local and regional businesses who sponsor several of the attractions.
The sponsors for 2013 include Service Motor Co., Baker Cheese, Calumet County Bank, Mueller Plumbing, Legacy Seeds, TH Agrichemicals, Vande Hey Brantmeier Auto, Reinl Accounting, American Auto Salvage, Mud Creek Cafe, WVBO Radio, Larry Schneider Insurance, and Bug Tussel Internet.
The corn maze season hours are 1-6 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission fees are $8 for age 12 and above and $5 for ages 3-11.
There is a combination price of $12 for adults and $6 for ages 3-11 that includes a hay wagon ride through much of the 150-acre farm, which includes a woodlot, a creek on the slope of the Niagara Escarpment, paddocks for beef cattle, and the honeybee colonies.
More information and on-site pictures can be found on the www.meuerfarm.com
website. A hotline phone number for checking on weather conditions is 920-418-4777.