Halloween is the time of picking pumpkins, drinking apple cider and going to haunted houses, but one activity offered at Sharp Farms is a nighttime corn maze.
Sharp Farms is a family-owned farm in Fairfield County that doubles as a family destination for fun activities in the fall months, and a sweetcorn and vegetable farm in the summer months.
Though Sharp Farms credits themselves as doing its part to feed the world, its hobby is creating a family-friendly place for picking pumpkins, sharing its petting zoo and now, for the second annual occasion, offering a two-night limited event Night Maze.
Aaron Ward, owner of the farm’s fall business, emphasizes the family aspect of the business. His grandfather owns the farm, so he loves to incorporate new events to create a space for family.
“We have the pumpkin farm and the corn maze and everything, and the night maze was just something to add to the farm for people to come out and enjoy,” Ward said. “It just seemed right to add it to our whole venue as well.”
Ward started the event last year after looking for a way to spice up his family farm that has been around since 1838. The event had a great turnout, but also received a lot of people calling to let the farm know they couldn’t make it to the event and hoped the farm would consider doing it again.
This year, Ward made the event two Saturdays: Oct. 12 and Oct. 19. Ward hoped by making the event on two different weekends that more people would be able to attend.
In addition to the night maze, Sharp Farms is offering homemade ice cream from its John Deere Hit Miss Engine between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. The flavors included are chocolate, vanilla and, of course, pumpkin.
Sharp Farms offers a package deal for the petting zoo and the night maze where children and adults can attend the pumpkin patch and petting zoo in the afternoon, and after the petting zoo closes at dark, enter the night maze.
Ward is excited about the second annual night maze because he wants to make it a tradition for the farm. Because Ward emphasizes the family-friendly aspect of the business, there aren’t any scary elements to the maze other than the darkness of night.
“When it’s dark out, people get lost, and it’s really funny when some people take half an hour and then others take three hours to get in and out,” Ward said. “They’re having a great time with it, being able to get lost in it, and you don’t have the reference points that you have during the day like being able to see the barn or the houses or the hillside, it’s just black, and it makes it quite a bit more difficult –– and the kids find that scary enough.”
Ohio University students are excited that Sharp Farms is offering the event.
Meghan Bell, a freshman studying communication sciences and disorders, grew up attending corn mazes and thinks the farm’s incorporation of the event is a really good idea.
“Where I’m from mazes are a really big thing, and I always liked going into corn mazes,” Bell said. “I think it’s a really fun idea, and I love that it’s family-friendly because I don’t like scary stuff.”
Emma Snyder, a freshman studying communication sciences and disorders, thinks the event is a cool opportunity for OU students living in Athens.
“It sounds like a cool event for children and families to come hangout and have some fun,” Snyder said. “It’s cool that it’s different than most of the stuff happening in Athens.”
More than anything, Ward wants the event to be something fun that brings families together. He realizes that with only darkness as a horror element in the maze, he isn’t pulling in the type of demographic that would come to a Halloween corn maze, but he doesn’t mind as long as the families are enjoying it.
“It brings people together,” Ward said. “It gives something for kids to do that doesn’t cost a lot of money and it’s just a wholesome family event.”