As the spooky season approaches, businesses across Carroll County are gearing up for a variety of fall-themed activities friendly to children and families.
Local Homestead Products has partnered with the New Windsor fire company for its fourth annual corn maze, located at 2425 Marston Road in New Windsor, and all proceeds will be donated to the fire company.
The corn maze is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October, weather permitting, and every weekend boasts a different theme. Admission costs $7 per person, though children younger than 3 years old are free.
“This is the best time of the year that we can share our lifestyle with all of our customers,” Local Homestead co-owner Victoria Hoff said. “Now, we get to enjoy it every day. To see our customers have fun going out into the fields, picking a pumpkin, enjoying the corn maze, and visiting with the animals, just the overall experience that other people are able to have makes it so worthwhile for us to see people having fun.”
The coronavirus pandemic has altered a few of the on-farm market’s regular operations for its fall events. Wagon rides will be limited to 75% capacity, and masks are required if guests are unable to sit six feet apart. Masks are also required inside the farm market, at the outdoor checkout and at the retail greenhouse.
Hoff said they opened a playground expansion at the farm last weekend, providing close to 15 different activities that are all free to the public. The playground now spans across two acres.
“The best way to describe the last six months would be that we had to pivot,” Hoff said. “Every week, we are faced with a new challenge and our staff has constantly had to adjust to the pandemic … We’re very lucky that we’re pivoting and we’re able to open the playground again and pivot to safely open the corn maze and pumpkin patch.”
Local Homestead will kick off its first maze weekend of October with Doggie Days in the Maze, inviting guests to bring their dogs to the maze as long as they remain on a leash. The maze will be open Friday, Oct. 2 from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Flashlights are a necessity for the maze’s second and fourth weekends, which feature a Glow Night theme where guests can walk the maze in the dark. A glow stick will be provided with each admission, and live music and food vendors will be available as well. The hours for the maze’s second and fourth weekends will be noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 9 and 23, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 10 and 24 (with live music and food vendors), and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11 and 25.
The farm is partnering with 1623 Brewery in Sykesville for the maze’s third weekend theme, Pumpkin Brew Day. The hours for are noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 16, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 17, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18.
The final maze weekend will also feature another Glow Night and Trunk or Treat event. The hours for this last weekend will be noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 30, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 31 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1.
The Carroll County Agricultural Center features a 15-acre corn maze that takes on a new theme every year. This fall’s corn maze is themed on World War II, replicating images from that period.
Ag Center events manager Heather Kuykendall said the maze should take guests more than an hour and a half to complete and masks are required in the maze if social distancing is not possible.
“We’re taking this very seriously to make sure that everybody is wearing their mask and social distancing,” Kuykendall said. “To make this a positive event for everybody to participate in vendor-wise and customer-wise. There’s some people that can’t believe that we’re doing something, but we have put COVID plans for approval and are following strict guidelines.”
The pandemic has been tough on the Ag Center in the past six months, Kuykendall said, with about $180,000 worth of revenue lost in the aftermath of events getting canceled.
The Indoor Flea Market is still scheduled for Sept. 26, and the Carroll County Farmer’s Market is planned for Oct. 3. All customers and vendors are required to wear masks and socially distance themselves while inside Shipley Arena during the flea market as well as outside at the farmer’s market.
“We’re limited on what we can do, so we’re trying to have smaller events here and there,” Kuykendall said. “We have to put a COVID plan in and get permission from the health department for anything we do here, so everything that is going on has been approved.”
The corn maze opened Sept. 11 and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Nov. 1. Its hours of operation are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is accepted on a cash-only basis and costs $10 for anyone ages 16 or older, $5 for kids ages 5 to 15, and free for those ages 4 and younger.
Cornfusion at Showvakers Quality Evergreens
Cornfusion at Showvakers Quality Evergreens, at 2020 Garrett Road in Manchester, features a corn maze with a scavenger hunt where guests can find hidden items during their journey through the maze. Whoever finds all the items will be entered in a drawing to win a free Christmas tree.
This year’s maze opened Sept. 12 and features a “Knights and Dragons” theme. It will remain open every weekend until Sept. 8.
Guests who visit on a Saturday can return for the flashlight maze at night for half off the regular price. Guests must still wear their wrist bands from earlier to qualify for the discount. The flashlight maze costs $10 for ages 3 and older, children 2 and younger are free, and children 12 and younger must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Quality Evergreens offers a wide range of other fall activities such as apple slingshots, a pumpkin patch, face painting and a hay ride. Guests are asked to wear a mask when engaging with staff, indoors or when unable to keep a safe socially distanced space from other guests.
Buppert’s Doran’s Chance Farm
This corn maze, located at 6914 Ridge Road in Marriottsville, is open all week long and admission costs $1 per person for entry.
The Buppert’s Doran’s Chance Farm maze operates from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week and from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The farm also offers hay rides to a pumpkin patch on weekends in October and fall harvest items such as fresh pressed cider, gourds, cornstalks, fall flowers, and more.