McAuley Corn Maze opens for the season
August 3, 2022, 4:49 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The McAuley Corn Maze in Southwest Manitoba is returning for the second year in a row.
The maze is about six acres and is now open to the public. There will also be a picnic table and porta potty on site for visitors to use.
“We’re hoping to open August 1, the corn is a little bit behind this year with planting later, but it will roughly be 16 inches tall which will be good for the kids,” said Alistair Pethick of McAuley.
“Last year we had a shorter maze for younger kids, where they would do the first loop and if they wanted to keep going they would go further in the maze, we’ll probably do that again this year.”
Pethick said it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get through the entire maze. The corn maze is northeast of Moosomin and west of McAuley, just north of the correction line.
People can find the maze by following signs on Highway 41, Highway 8 north of Moosomin, Highway 308, or searching it on Google Maps.
“The maze is for people to have fun in, it’s something we just sort of thought of doing for fun. With Covid there was not a lot going on last year, but the maze did really well. We estimated about 700 to 800 people came last year, which was incredible,” said Pethick.
“It’s going to be bigger and better than last year, hopefully. The summer before last year we travelled in the States and went through a corn field, I always thought a corn maze would be neat. We were just joking around saying that one day we should make one, then we started growing corn a little bit on the farm, then one day just tried to make a maze out of it.”
Aside from a handful of volunteers, Pethick said him and a friend are the ones who mainly prepare the maze. They started designing the route of the maze last week.
“We had a few helpers, but mostly Markie and I were helping prepare it. We mowed the corn with the lawn mower and we put some signs up,” Pethick said.
“Last year we had corny jokes at every dead end in the maze and this year we’re going to have something different.
“This year we also have a few different sponsors Pateman Ag, who have planted the corn for free and supplied the corn sheets. Crushfire Oil Fuel already gave us a deal on bathrooms, we have a porta potty there now.”
The maze is free of charge, however Pethick said the group is open to receiving donations.
“The farmers basically funded it, but any donations that come in we just invest it back into the corn maze, for better signage, maintenance, stuff like that. We’re going to buy some newer picnic tables this year,” Pethick said.
“The donations basically cover the cost on the signage, and advertising we do for the maze, as well as supplying garbage cans and such. The maze basically just runs itself. People were really good last year.
“It went so well last year we thought we would do it again this year. According to our feedback from last year, we seeded the corn with an air seeder and the corn itself, it wasn’t very good, but this year we have much better looking corn.
“This year I think the maze will be nicer looking, and a little bit more challenging. It’s nice to have for fun, it’s something we can do and give back to the community.”
Based on the feedback from last year’s maze, Markie Morris of McAuley said they plan on having a guest book at the place to help keep track of how many people come by.
She also spoke about what they plan on doing differently this year.
“Last year at every dead end we had corny jokes, this year we’re doing something different but we don’t want to say what it is until people get here,” Morris said.
“We’re doing a different layout for the maze, we’ll still have picnic tables set up for people who want to enjoy their time they can go do that.
“We’ll have a bathroom on site which is new, we didn’t have that last year. We’re really trying to get it open before kids go back to school, August 1 is the plan to have it open by.
Haunted maze near end of October
Last year the group hosted a haunted maze for kids and adults to enjoy. Morris said they plan on doing it again this year in October.
“We did do a one night haunted maze last year, it turned out really great. We did a $5 admission, I’m not sure if it’s going to stay the same or if it will happen again this year, it really happened because the community came together,” she said.
“It turned out great and all the money we raised from that went towards the McAuley playground, I think we made about $1,305 from the haunted maze.”
Morris said they plan on hosting the event again this year.
“We’re hoping to do it, if we get the support early we’re definitely hoping to. The regular donation money itself goes towards seeding cost and all the upkeeping for the corn maze, then the money raised from the haunted maze was donated to the McAuley playground.
“It was a great turnout, we did talk about doing two nights instead of one, but because we all have small kids it will depend on who we can gather.
“It’s usually near Halloween and near the end of the corn maze is when we would put it together.”