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An a'maize'ing undertaking

Local couple brings corn maze craze to the Lakes Region

MIKE AND KATHY CURRIER enjoy the view from the raised observation platform at the center of their new cornfield maze, located at the Lake Knoll Farm in Alton. Brendan Berube. (click for larger version)
September 15, 2009
ALTON — The layout and design are intricate enough to be the work of extraterrestrials, but the new corn maze located at Alton's Lake Knoll Farm has a much more down-to-earth back story.

Mike and Kathy Currier, the farm's owners, became intrigued by the burgeoning international corn maze phenomenon while visiting the maze at the Sherman Farm in Center Conway, one of more than 1,500 scattered throughout the United States and Canada.

Having held a series of fall hayrides at their historic Prospect Mountain Road property in the past, Kathy Currier said the couple were saddened to hear children's misconceptions about where products like pumpkins and Indian corn come from.

After touring the Sherman Farm, she said, she and Mike decided to plant a maze of their own as a way to promote agri-tourism in the area, and pass the importance of preserving New Hampshire's agricultural heritage down to the younger generation.

Enlisting the services of Brett Herbst, the world's leading designer of cornfield mazes, to create a design in the shape of Lake Knoll's signature red caboose, the Curriers planted 800 pounds of corn in a 2.5 acre patch of land behind the main house and watched the maze grow throughout the summer.

Fellow farmers were a big help during the process, Kathy said, explaining that neighbor Nate Locke offered to plow and furrow the cornfield, and that the nearby Price Farm donated a bag of corn seed when the couple ran short while planting the maze.

Although the correct pathway through the maze can be traversed in a matter of 15 minutes, she said, the challenge for maze-goers will be finding the right path among the twists and turns of the design.

The average person, she added, will need roughly an hour to navigate through the maze.

In addition to the maze, the Curriers also plan to offer hayrides, a petting zoo, a sandbox filled with corn, and hot apple cider on the deck of the caboose.

Maze-goers will also be offered a chance to test their marksmanship skills with the farm's super corn cannon, an air gun designed to launch anything from corn cobs to apples into the nearby tree line.

"It's been a lot of work, but it's well worth it," Kathy said. "Where else can you go for family fun?"

The Lake Knoll Farm's cornfield maze and other attractions are open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through Oct. 31. Field trip hours are also available by reservation during the week.

For more information about the maze, located at 55 Prospect Mountain Road, contact the Curriers by phone at 776-4830, by e-mail at acountryevent@metrocast.net, or visit www.cornfieldmaze.com.

Brendan Berube can be reached at 569-3126 or bberube@salmonpress.com

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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