Throughout North Georgia (links to individual sites below
When: Late August-November
What: Family fun trying to find your way in a maze
Scott Cagle had a vision. His family business, a dairy farm, was threatened by the increasing urbanization of once-rural Cherokee County. Skyrocketing land prices made expansion impossible, so ten years ago he turned to the relatively new concept of agri-tourism to boost revenue by adding tours of the dairy facilities on the 192-acre Cagle property.
In 2000, Cagle stood near his dairy barn in Hickory Flat with About North Georgia publisher Randy Golden and explained the concept of the corn maize he intended to build the following summer. Simply, Cagle would grow a field of corn with paths cut to create a design that looked like the Cagle Dairy logo, a stylized barn and windmill, when viewed from above.
Scott Cagle watches as Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin opens the Corn Maize
More than a year later Scott and Randy met again, overlooking an 8-acre cornfield exactly as Scott had described. After the opening of the maize by Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin, Randy and his wife Pam decided to take a hike through the corn. The path was both entertaining and challenging, even with the maps provided by Mr. Cagle.
Fast forward to August, 2002. Scott's original 8-acre corn maze expanded to ten acres, and the design was one of stylized cows and chickens courtesy of the maze sponsor, Chik-Fil-A. Now there are more maizes in Georgia, courtesy of the man who designed Cagle's mazes, Brett Herbst. Herbst, who graciously acknowledges the fact that he did not come up with the original concept, is the country's most prolific corn maze designer with more than 300 within the United States.
Over the past two years the craze has taken hold throughout the United States and around the world. Cagle, who last year drew 25,000 visitors to the new concept, expected to increase visitation in spite of the increased competition. Other maizes or mazes have opened in Dawsonville, on Lookout Mountain, and in Barnesville, south of Atlanta.
In 2007 Mark Cagle announced the opening of the World's Largest Corn Maize in Gordon County, Georgia. Two miles west of New Echota, Mark has created a massive 56-acre site comprised of 6 historic events including the Trail of Tears and the 1864 Battle of Resaca.
See below for links to each of the maizes (or mazes) that we have found in Georgia.
Somebody is going the wrong way!
Visiting a corn maze
Come prepared for an adventure. Although minimum times vary, in general you can figure that it will take at least 45 minutes to one hour to complete a maize if you are a good map reader and lucky.
For most families a good estimate on the amount of time to complete the maze will be one and a half to two hours. Parents with young children may want to pack a snack and some juice, just in case Junior decides he's hungry in the middle of the trek. You may also want to forgot the stroller because of the bumpy nature of farm fields.
Each maize is designed, to some extent, to confuse the participants. Paths will loop back or end suddenly, so you can find yourself in the same location you were 15 minutes ago. And don't try following another group...they could be as lost as you are. Normally asking folks for directions can help, but if you really get corn-fused, one or two strategically placed employees can be called for help. If a problem does develop, there is normally a quick way to the outside world.
There is normally another attraction in addition to the maize. For the Rock City Corn Maize its, well, Rock City. Cagle's Dairy (Hickory Flat) has agricultural-related stuff, and Uncle Shucks in Dawsonville has a pumpkin farm.
Scott Cagle, who introduced us to the concept of a corn maize before they became popular now runs Agri-Tour Solutions in Canton, Georgia.