A DeSoto County corn maze will honor frontline health care workers this year with a unique design and by offering them free admission.
Cedar Hill Farm, which has had an annual corn maze since the early 2000s, will use this year’s event to honor those working to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Health care professionals — from nurses to doctors to EMTs — will get free daytime or flashlight maze admission on Oct. 2-3 with a valid ID.
“This year, it just felt right,” Robert Foster, who owns the farm, said. “We thought this would be a great year to honor them and say thank you.”
The pandemic had already begun when Foster was planning the design of this year’s maze. Though the maze will not open until October, the preparation to plan and execute a design takes months.
The corn is grown later than a normal crop, as it isn’t intended for harvest as much as it is for being the maze. The path of the maze is laid out in a computer in a grid system, which is translated to the field to create the paths.
The paths are cleared with mowers and herbicide, which keeps regrowth on the trails to a minimum throughout the coming months. Foster said he cuts the corn when it hasn’t grown very tall so they can see the paths and where to mow.
Once the paths have been created, fencing is laid on each side of the trail. Foster said the process takes time but keeps the maze from being destroyed or people going off the path. He estimated that there is about a mile of fencing throughout the maze.
Most of the activities this year will be the same, though he said the haunted hayride would not be a part of this year’s festivities because the optics would not be good for the farm.
Foster — a former politician with a large online following — has vocally opposed mask mandates on social media, often posting with the tag #MaskOffMS. He said he was deeply opposed to government policies to control the spread of the virus but still supports the health care workers who face the virus daily.