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Corn maze to honor breast cancer awareness

Sep. 08, 2012 @ 12:42 AM

MILTON — The cornfield behind the old Milton Middle School is where Kim and Joyce Cooper and crew have carved out corn paths in the shape of everything from the New River Gorge Bridge to Uncle Sam and even the state of West Virginia since 2001.

This year, The Maze at Cooper Farms, which opens Saturday, Sept. 8, shows the love for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer awareness mission as the eight-acre corn labyrinth will be in the shape of a ribbon, boxing gloves and Cancer Society mottos like “Walk For a Cure” and “Fight Like a Girl.”

The Maze will be open noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, as well as 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays; Monday through Thursday by reservation and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays through Sunday, Oct. 28.

Admission is $7, $6.50 for ages 4 to 11, and free for children 3 and under. E-mail for reservations for a group to get a group rate.

The Field of Screams takes place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20, and Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27. Haunted admission is $10. No discounts or reservations.

Cooper, whose day job is principal at Milton Elementary School, said he and his wife feel blessed that even though it was not an easy growing season, they did not have the devastating drought that has plagued farmers in the Midwest.

“It was wet, then it was dry, and then it was wet, and then it was dry dry,” Cooper said. “So it has been a tough season, but when I look at what we have compared to what a lot of farmers just west of here have, we are truly blessed.”

To navigate The Maze, guests are issued a passport or card with 10 questions that come in a variety of themes, such as Biblical and Scout questions or entertainment trivia. Guests stop at numbered posts where they answer a question, and the right answer points them in the right direction to get out. The wrong answer sends them farther into the maze.

This year, Cooper said they’ve updated several passports with new television and movie questions as well as new Bible trivia.

Terri Francis, the community manager for the American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic Division based out of Huntington, said she was thankful for the Coopers’ kindness in spreading the word about the fight against cancer.

The ACS will have an information booth at The Maze throughout the season.

“Last year Kim’s school did a mini Relay for Life, and when I talked with him about awareness, he said that this kept coming back to him as a theme,” Francis said. “Over the summer in July he sent the design, and it was great. I am so excited and happy that he would do this for us.”

In addition to The Maze, there are light concessions sold, such as popcorn, candy, hot chocolate and coffee. And there are some other attractions, such as a pumpkin patch, a cow train and sand boxes filled with corn for the little ones, hayrides, corn hole, a campfire ring and plastic lawn darts.

Added during the season last year was an attraction called the Corn Crib Crawl which has 27 compartments that you have to contort your body to squeeze through.

Cooper said they are looking for another great year with folks coming from all over the region to enjoy not only The Maze but other area attractions such as the Milton Flea Market, the Huntington Mall and of course, the super-sized West Virginia Pumpkin Festival, set for the first weekend in October.

“Last year we had people come in from as far away as the Wheeling area, as far west as Lexington, Ky., and as far down in Virginia, and everything in between,” Cooper said. “We try to tell groups that you can throw in coming to the mall or the flea market or the Pumpkin Festival and come over and do all this stuff at one time.”

For more info call 304-743-0548 or 304-634-MAZE during business hours. E-mail at kim@cooperfamilyfarms.net. You can also go online at www.cornfieldmaze.com. Click Visit a Maize, then West Virginia and Milton.

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