SHAKOPEE, Minn. -- Many of us will go to a corn maze this fall. In fact, WCCO's morning team already spent time at one at the Sever's Fall Festival in Shakopee.
It had them wondering, how do they even make corn mazes? Good Question. Heather Brown visited one of the very first families to start this tradition 27 years ago.
The 14-acre robot maze at Sever's isn't one that tries to get you lost.
"It's designed in a way to not have any dead ends. We don't want people to be in there and get super lost or frustrated or those who might be directionally challenged, we want them to have a good time," Nicola Peterson said.
Peterson and Mitch Michaelson have been here from the start.
"We do it the same way we've been doing it all 27 years," Peterson said.
The family behind Sever's comes up with the idea and they work with a graphic designer to plot out the map.
"This whole thing is a big piece of graph paper," Michaelson said.
They begin planting the field in June, both in vertical and horizontal rows that create big squares of corn stalks that correspond to little squares on the graph paper.
By July, the stalks are just a few inches tall. That's when the cutting crew begins a long three days of removing the baby corn stalks from the spaces thousands of people will eventually walk.
"It's really kinda funny phone call. Like, 'Hey, it's July. Are you ready to cut the corn maze?' Michaelson said.
Michaelson explained why they still hand cut the corn.
"Probably some of it's nostalgia. We've been doing it this way for a long time," Michaelson said. "There are machines that would do it, I just think that it's kind of a passion project."
They grade the land so water can run off. By September, the corn is 12 feet tall. So tall that there are five or so maze staff stationed inside to help guide people through.
"Thankfully, we've never had an issue of anyone spending the night in the corn maze," Peterson said.
At the end of the season, they harvest the corn with the combine and store it to use for the corn pits the following year.
Not all corn mazes are made this way. A newer, popular way to create these fields is to use machines that are guided by GPS.
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