The corn maze is among the most fun signs of autumn in Whatcom County. As a child who grew up here, I have many fond memories of exploring local corn-filled labyrinths with my father: overconfidently thinking we were navigational geniuses; continually arguing over directions; hoping we could make it out of the maze before dusk and we ended up like Jack Nicholson’s character at the end of “The Shining.”
My childhood is long gone now, but the legacy of local corn mazes lives on each year for children and adults alike. Here’s a rundown of the a-maizing options our county has to offer.
FFA Corn Maze, Lynden
The granddaddy of county corn mazes, the Lynden Future Farmers of America corn maze has been going strong for 20 years. Each year features a different design that, when viewed from the air, forms a cool image. Past years have included a cow, windmill, barn, owl, and tractor, among others. This year, it’s a lion’s head.
The maze is designed many months in advance by Lynden School District agricultural advisors, who work with student FFA volunteers to create a computer-aided design file that then goes to a local surveying company. Once the property is literally staked out by surveyors, the pattern is mowed into the corn with a tractor.
The maze is the largest fundraiser the Lynden High School FFA Booster Club does all year, says booster club president Renee Biemold. The corn maze helps provide funds for student scholarships, state and national trips, a yearly banquet, and the purchase of equipment for agriculture classes.
The maze happens courtesy of Dan and Terri Noteboom, local dairy farmers who provide their corn field for its use each year. CHS, a local feed and agronomy company, donates the corn to be planted.
The FFA corn maze begins the weekend after Labor Day and runs through the end of the month. It’s open 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays, 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturdays, and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $6 for adults and students 7th grade or older; $4 for students kindergarten through 6th grade, and free for those younger than four. There’s also a family rate of $18 for two adults and three kids. If you’re going into the maze after dark, bring your flashlights!
The FFA Corn Maze is located off Hannegan Road, just south of Lynden.
Bellewood Farms, known for their delicious apple cider this time of year, has a moderately challenging corn maze that’s open throughout September and October.
Eric Abel, Bellewood’s co-owner, says the uniquely shaped two-acre maze has nine dead-ends. It also features informational checkpoints that teach visitors about farming and crops. Those who complete all of the maze’s checkpoints are rewarded with one of Bellewood’s homemade cookies as a prize.
The maze is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is just $2 on weekdays. On weekends, a $5 entry fee provides visitors with a host of other fun activities, including bin train rides, bouncy houses, and corn cannons—devices similar to t-shirt cannons that are equipped to shoot ears of corn at targets, including old tires. Definitely don’t pass up a chance to try these.
Bellewood Farms is located at 6140 Guide Meridian.
Stoney Ridge Farm
This two-acre corn maze is just one of several fun activities available on a family farm renowned for its pumpkin patch. Open the last three Fridays and Saturdays in October from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., it’s not for the faint of navigation.
“People tell us it’s hard,” says Debi Gavette, co-owner of Stoney Ridge. “It’s designed mostly for children—but adults get lost in it.”
Gavette says her husband, Derek, is an agronomist, and does his best to make the maze difficult. The process begins months in advance, when the corn is double-planted, making the maze twice as thick as a cornfield would normally be. When the crops are about a foot high, a riding lawn mower or small farm tractor is used to carve the maze’s design. By the time the maze opens to visitors, the walls of corn are six to eight feet high.
And in case you’ve ever wondered what happens to all that corn after a month of standing around, Gavette says it still finds a use: they feed it to their cows. Admission for the Stoney Ridge corn maze is $3, and features a wagon ride (although not through the maze).
Stoney Ridge Farm is located at 2092 Van Dyke Rd. in Everson.
Featured photo courtesy of Bellewood Farms