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Cornstalk maze is fun for adults and kids

by Chris Olesen

If you would like to fight a monster, there are two in Fallon

waiting for you to take on the challenge. The Hawthorne Dragon

and Tahoe Tessie sit in the middle of a Nevada-shaped maze, hand

cut from a cornfield at Lattin Farms.

The walk-through puzzle covers 2 acres and has 1 mile of trails.

“It takes about 4-1/2-to-five minutes to do the maze at a walking

pace,” says Laurianne Lattin. “That is, if you know where you’re

going.”

But don’t worry about getting lost. Each player or family is given

a flag on a pole to signal if they need help, and there are spotters

who stand above the tall corn who can tell you or give you hints

on which way to go.

Hint: There is a map in the amusing and informative book, “The

Day the Dragons Hatched,” available at the entrance to the maze.

Escape hatches. There are also escape hatches for the faint of heart.

Walking the maze will give you an idea of just how high “as high

as an elephant’s eye” is. And how still and quiet the air can

be deep in the folds of a cornfield. Only the sounds of children

laughing or adults questioning their sense of direction filter

through the thick corn stalks. On a hot afternoon, the tall corn

gives shade from the bright sun but also stops any cooling breezes.

The best times to do the maze are morning or late afternoon –

at least until the season cools off. These are also the best times

to use the sun as a compass.

Besides solving the maze itself, there is a quiz you can take

while in the maze. The answers are located at the dead ends (a

good excuse for taking a wrong turn). When you reach the center,

you are rewarded with a bridge that takes you over the tall corn

and back to the the beginning. From this vantage point, you get

a view over the maze and can see just how big it is.

But there’s more to do at Lattin Farms than the cornfield maze.

Diana Schmid, owner of On The Farm Petting Zoo, has several of

her animals corralled in a pen cut in the same cornfield. Among

the animals are Barbados sheep, miniature donkeys and goats. Children

can even ride a 6-month old Jersey steer. The petting zoo is at

the maze Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission to the zoo

is $1 and steer rides are $1.

Also in the cornfield, the Lattins provide horseshoe courts, volleyball

courts, a rope maze and a picnic area.

“We encourage people to spend the day, do the maze, play a game

of volleyball, have a picnic,” said Laurianne Lattin.

The Lattins are known for their produce, and their stands are

abundant with summer’s harvests. They are planning some special

events at the maze to coincide with Fallon’s Labor Day Hearts

of Gold Festival, and a scarecrow factory will be available Oct.

10-17. During that week, the maze will be closed for a few days

as the Lattin family and friends decorate the maze and add some

scary features. They will then reopen for Halloween fun Oct. 17.

Only nine in United States, Canada. The Lattin Farms’ Cornfield Maze, also known as a Maize Maze,

is one of only nine maize mazes in the U.S. and Canada designed

by award winning British maze artist Adrian Fisher. This year

Fisher designed over a dozen maize mazes across North America

and Britain with a dragon theme. Designs include a Welsh dragon

in England, Quetzalcoatl, the feathered dragon, in New Mexico

and an Oriental dragon in Canada.

“We wanted to do something that would add some fun to our produce

stand,” said Rick Lattin, owner of Lattin Farms. “When we first

heard about these mazes, we knew this was it.”

Lattin found Fisher on the World Wide Web, made arrangements to

meet him, then hired him to design the Fallon maze.

Fisher says, “Mazes are one of the finest attractions for the

whole family. You are in charge of your own progress by the choices

you make. A 4-year-old’s choice can be as inspired or misguided

as a grandparent’s. Many families tell us how they feel a great

sense of achievement when solving a maze together.”

The Lattins are planning to repeat the maze next year and are

considering a geographical theme. Perhaps Carson Valley will be

on the map.

The Maize Maze is located at the Lattin Farms produce stand at

1955 McClean Road, turn south off Highway 50 in Fallon.

The maze is open until after Halloween for as long as the corn

holds up. Entrance fees are $6 for adults 16 and older, $4 for

children or $20 for a family. The maze is closed on Sunday and

Monday.

For more information about the Lattin’s cornfield maze, call 867-3750

or e-mail: lattinfarms@aiinc.com.

Look up http://www.mazemaker.com for more information about mazes and the artist Adrian Fisher.

Chris Olesen is a Carson Valley artist and a Record-Courier production

employee.