Workers at Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze in Dawson County have been hard at work for months getting ready to open the farm’s attractions to the public for the fall 2020 season, beginning on Sept. 12.
Uncle Shuck’s offers a corn maze, haunted trail and many other activities for all ages. The attraction runs each year during the fall and attracts visitors from all over. But there is much more that goes into the preparation of the corn maze than meets the eye, according to Uncle Shuck’s owner Mathew Hughes.
Hughes said that it’s a common misconception that making a corn maze is easy, in reality, it’s a process that lasts all year round.
“Everyone thinks that we just plant some corn and it’s done and that I just work three months out of the year,” Hughes said. “But it’s basically a year-round project between maintaining the property and making the maze.”
Hughes said that the process begins with soil testing each year in order to determine what fertilizers and chemicals are needed to help the corn grow. Then the large cornfield, which is even larger this year than what it was last year, is planted.
“This year we actually expanded our field, so last year we had 13 acres and this year we did 17,” Hughes said. “We plant all the corn and then we have a company from Idaho come out and cut the design for us.”
MazePlay, the company that cuts the designs for Uncle Shuck’s, cuts over a hundred mazes throughout the United States, so cutting the design into the cornfield doesn’t always happen at the same time every year.
“How far the corn is up by the time he comes out here varies, so sometimes it’s 12 inches tall and sometimes it’s four feet tall,” Hughes said.
Every year Uncle Shuck’s has a new and exciting design for the corn maze focused on a particular theme.
“Last year it was all about Dawson County since we’d moved that year, and this year we’re chaining it to just a fun design,” Hughes said. “There’s really nothing particular happening, so we figured we’d make it something that everyone knows and that everyone would enjoy.”
This will be Uncle Shuck’s second year at its new location beside Rock Creek Park. According to Hughes, one of the biggest perks of the new location is the ability to expand and add on to his business.
“It’s great; there’s so much more room and twice the area so parking’s not an issue,” Hughes said. “Before we only had about 10.5 acres so we have more room to expand here.”
This year, Uncle Shuck’s has added a new pavilion, a second bridge inside the maze and more places to take photos. The haunted trail, which runs every Friday and Saturday night through the month of October, will be open on Halloween night this year.
Hughes said that the new location has been received well by the community, both those who are new to Uncle Shuck’s and those who have been coming every year for a long time.
“We’ve gotten lots of compliments from our customers on our new location; a lot of them have followed us for a long time so they came over with us,” Hughes said. “Like there’s a photo board that we’ve had forever and there’s a photo of this girl who the past 7 years she’s had her photo taken at the same spot, which is funny because some years she’s grown almost a foot and other years she’s grown a couple inches, but people like that notice the difference.”
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Hughes said this year he anticipates fewer field trips to the maze, but he also believes that there will be more members of the general public who come out to visit the attraction.
“I think the people coming is gonna be greater than normal because we’ve had a lot of phone calls and emails already,” Hughes said. “I think people are just ready to get out — I know I am!”
Hughes said that it will be easy to social distance in the expanded corn maze because while it is a larger field than last year it has the same amount of paths so they’re spread out more.
“We just want people to come here and have fun and not have to worry about it,” Hughes said. "Not that we haven’t had to change some stuff or take precautions, but we just want people to be able to come here and have fun — I know I’m looking forward to it.”
Uncle Shuck’s corn maze will be open from Sept. 12 until Nov. 15. For more information on the attractions including pricing, visit its website at https://uncleshucks.com/.