Airplanes of the Corn

Aerospace-themed corn mazes are a hit with tourists.

In 2007, Suter's Produce in Pandora, Ohio, incorporated a space theme into its corn maze, and with good reason. "We're about 30 to 35 miles from Wapakoneta, Ohio, which is Neil Armstrong's birthplace," says Jerry Suter. "We've always been interested in space."

The cornfield maze has become a common tourist attraction in rural areas, but it was brand new in 1993 when Don Frantz and Joanne Marx thought up the idea in order to raise funds for Midwest farmers devastated by floods. The pair decided to design a maze in a field next to Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania, and donate the admission fees to the Red Cross.

Frantz, who had been enamored with show business ever since working as a costumed gorilla at HersheyPark one summer, teamed up with an English maze designer to create a three-acre design in the shape of a dinosaur named Cornelius the Cobasaurus. The maze raised $32,000 and drew thousands of visitors.  

It’s hard to say exactly how many mazes there are in the United States today. Corn Maze America estimates there are more than 800; a precise tally is impossible, as many are privately designed. Professional corn maze companies (yes, they exist) design about 400 mazes each year.

That got us wondering if there were any mazes with aviation or space themes. Turns out there have been quite a few, as the gallery below shows.

The owners of Richardson Farm (Spring Grove, Illinois) celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in 2009.
Larry Webb used a weed mower to cut a C-130 into his corn field near Lewistown, Illinois, in 2004. The maze design paid tribute to the nearby Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Airlift Wing; the admission fees to the maze were donated to the Lewistown High School (hence the "LHS" at the bottom of the maze).
For the Battle of Britain's 70th anniversary in 2010, Yorkshire farmer Tom Percy designed a Spitfire corn maze.
In 2011, Boeing sponsored Boone Hall Plantation's corn maze design (Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina). The eight-acre 787 was designed using GPS when the corn was about six inches tall.
The 2015 corn maze at May Farms in Byers, Colorado, gives a nod to the hot air balloon festival the farm held earlier in the year.
Today's Harvest in New Paris, Ohio, has added a hot air balloon design to its corn mazes for the past five years. "We donate our entire corn crop to Children's Medical Center," says Elizabeth Jordan, "and the hot air balloon is part of their logo."
In 2011, seven farms across the United States collaborated with NASA to create corn mazes that celebrated the space agency, the 50th anniversary of the first American in space, the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle's first mission, and the Hubble Space Telescope's 20th anniversary. Here, Dewberry Farm in Brookshire, Texas, starts off with Neil Armstrong's famous words. To see all seven space-themed mazes, read Nancy Atkinson's post for Universe Today.
Sweet Season Farms in Milton, Florida, designed this tribute to the Blue Angels in 2009. Getting permission and designing the maze took two months of planning, says Sharon Mathews of Sweet Season Farms. Members of the 2009 Blue Angels flight team visited the maze, and the Mathews family was invited to the homecoming show at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

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