The cool, crisp autumn air, and the changing colors on the trees mean only one thing in Southeast Michigan: It's pumpkin patch and corn maze time!
The Blast Corn Maze in Webster Township is open to start the fall celebration, and this year, the owners are promising plenty of excitement and mayhem in the 10-acre corn field off Daly Road.
The maze is the brainchild of Dexter High School alumni Ryan Nixon, who transformed his family farm into a fall attraction due to an economic necessity.
"Three years ago when the economy went bad, I sold the farm and I lease part of it back every year for the corn maze," he said.
The idea came from a friend, who operates a similar maze in Monroe.
"Between the two sites, we split the cost of equipment to create the maze, which makes it more affordable for both of us," Nixon said.
Visitors to the Blast Maze can enjoy a variety of games and attractions, from the pedal car track and hay rides, to a corn cannon, petting zoo, and rubber ducky races.
"There is something for everyone," Nixon said.
Nixon does all the work himself, including building all the attractions and creating the design of the maze, which he says changes every year. Last year visitors had to make their way through a giant scarecrow, while this year the maze is modeled after a flying witch and a black cat.
"The design takes about three days and cutting the pattern in the field is a day's work," he said. "I try to make it challenging, but for grandparents and parents concerned about safety, maps are available for purchase."
Nixon said no one has ever been lost in the maze for more than an hour, which he said is credited to three different exits.
"You get out of it what you want to," he said. "Everything at the farm is designed to provide families or groups with an afternoon of entertainment. You can come in the morning and end up staying for several hours."
Despite a poor corn crop this year and rising maintenance costs, Nixon said he has managed to keep prices competitive.
Admission to the maze is $7 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children under 5 are free. Groups of 15 or more are $5 each. Nixon also offers a combo package featuring a maze and hayride, which is $9 for adults, $7 for children 5-12, free for children under 5, and $6 for groups of 15 or more.
A visit to the popular corn box (a sandbox full of corn seeds) is $3.
The maze is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, visit www.blastcornmaze.com.
For a complete list of corn mazes throughout Southeast Michigan, check out Patch's guide to corn mazes.