Corn Maze Has Stanley Cup Feel
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A Stanley Cup winning hockey player will challenge corn maze goers this fall.
The corn maze at the Richard Pressley farm on Union Church Road will open Saturday for a new season, this year sporting a Carolina Hurricanes hockey player.
Jennifer Bailey, who manages the maze for her family, says the design was chosen this year in honor of the Carolina Hurricanes' winning the 2006 famed Stanley Cup, the first national professional sports championship in North Carolina.
"We thought it would be a good thing because they did win this year," Bailey said.
This is the third season that the Pressleys have carved a maze from a corn field and invited the public to have fun on the family farm.
The first year, the design was a Carthage buggy. The farm skipped the next year because of a bad corn harvest but resumed the agritourism project last year with a golfer as the design, in recognition of Pinehurst hosting the 2005 U.S. Open golf championship.
A new feature of this year's maze is a toddler maze formed of hay stacks. Bailey says this was added to provide diversion for children too small to enjoy the big maze, which is carved from a 10-acre corn field, providing a maze path more than one mile in length.
Features that have been popular each season and are returning this year include the hay jump, the birthday party room inside the maze, and the sale of pumpkins.
The maze will be open to the public for an admission fee Fridays from 6 until 10 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Sundays from 1 until 6 p.m. The maze will be available by appointment Monday through Thursday and on Friday mornings also by appointment.
The maze will be operated into October, or until weather conditions and time changes make it unsuitable for this type of outdoor activity.
Bailey says special times can be arranged by appointment for such groups as civic clubs, church organizations, youth groups and for field trips. She adds that birthday parties and other parties can be held at the maze.
Kevin Williams, district conservationist, and Jonathan Russell, natural resources administrator, both with the Moore Soil and Water Conservation Service District, handled the global positioning system (GPS) device to design the hockey player. Bailey's husband, Greg, and her brother, Travis Pressley, helped to cut the design from the corn field.
Williams says Chris Koltyk, geographic information system planner with the Moore County Planning Department, helped with the computer imagery.
The mobile GPS unit used to design the maze is new equipment acquired by the conservation district and is accurate to within 14 centimeters.
"It looks really good," Bailey said of the maze design. "We plan to have a good time again this year."
Corn mazes and agricultural mazes represent a growing trend in the relatively new agri-tourism field. These ventures have become so popular that the subject of the corn maze has been featured in a number of national publications in recent weeks.
Mary Kim Koppenhofer, marketing director for the Conven-tion and Visitors Bureau, praised the Pressley family for their innovative enterprise and success in carrying out the concept.
"I do feel that the Pressleys should be recognized for taking the concept, putting it forward and making it one of the most successful agritourism attractions in our area," Koppenhofer said. "It's really been gratifying to see their hard work succeed so well."
The Visitors Center in Southern Pines has copies of the colorful agritourism map produced by the Sandhills Agricultural Tourism Board. The map lists a multitude of rural attractions in Moore County, and in neighboring counties.
"It's one of the most successful agritourism enterprises we've seen," Koppenhofer said.
Anyone wanting more information about the Pressley Farm corn maze and to make appointments can call Jennifer Bailey at 947-4891 or (cell phone) 638-0804.
The Pressley farm is located on Union Church Road about a mile and a half east of Carthage.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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