Maize Maze Makes Much Merriment
MAIN ATTRACTION PROVIDES OUTDOORS ENTERTAINMENT
Thursday, September 20, 2012
McDONALD COUNTY Families looking for a good place to spend a day in the outdoors this fall can find it close by at Right Choices Corn Maze and PumpkinPatch just north of Southwest City.
Right Choices Corn Maze is preparing to open for its seventh season and is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 29 through Nov. 3, with school field trips available Monday through Friday.
Exploring the seven-acre cornfield maze is the main attraction, but Right Choices o◊ers many other activities as well, such as taking a hay ride along the Elk River, shooting a corn cannon, playing on the giant corn jump, riding a cow trainand picking out pumpkins and gourds.
There are special events going on most weekends, including gospel and Christian music concerts, an antique tractor show, pony rides and horse-drawn wagon rides.
ACHE dental will be at Right Choices Sept. 29 and 30 giving free dental checks to kids. And, on Oct. 6 at Right Choices, RFD TV will be fi lming an episode of “Out of the Norm with Norm Allen,” to be aired nationwide.
Regular admission for all activities is $12. Children under 3 are free. Group rates and season passes are also available. Admission will be half price on opening weekend.
Not wanting to retire and do nothing and also desiring to join a love for agriculture with a Christian ministry, Galen Manning, together with his brothers Gary and David, have turned a family farm which was in the Manning family since 1870 into a wholesome place for young and old alike to visit.
Galen, after a 26-year career with Walmart, wanted to fi nd a way to use the family farm, which he had worked on the side, into a ministry opportunity.
Galen and his wife Barbie, a school teacher, visited another corn maze and decided to look into building a maze of their own on the family farm. They joined an organization in Utah which helps people build themazes by designing and marking out the paths.
“My brother Gary retired about the same time as I did,” Galen said.
Gary, a carpenter by trade, helped restore the farm’s 1875 barn and build other fi xtures on the farm. Another brother, David, built the farm’s Web site; and Galen’s daughter Charity now promotes the maze and events there.
When the farm is open, neighbors and members from the churches the Mannings attend help out with the many activities on the farm, Galen said.
“We’re only open eight weeks a year, but we’re working on the maze and getting things ready all-year-long,” Galen said.
The corn - mostly field corn but also ornamental corn - is planted in rows going north and south and east and west. After the Utahbased organization fi nishes the design and the corn is planted and growing, they come out, mark every 10th row and spray paint where the paths are to be cut. The Mannings then follow with a lawn mower to cut the paths to make the 1,100-foot labyrinth in the corn.
This year’s maze includes a 12-foot bridge along the pathway, allowing those trying to find their way through the maze to look out over the plot with its 8-to-10-foot corn plants.
For anyone wanting an aerial view of the maze, a trip to the old hay loft will provide a view from 30 feet above the ground.
Visitors who have always wanted to shoot a big gun are sure to enjoy the corn cannons - now on a special platform, complete with large bull’s-eye targets downrange. The airpowered guns will launch an ear of corn at a target 50 to 60 yards away with the touch of a button.
For the children, the Mannings have constructed numerous games and activities, including pumpkin ball, hill slides, hay jump, corn box and racing ducks. The farmanimal zoo includes pigs, goats, lambs, ducks and geese. A tractor-pulled cow train ride is also available.
Entire families can take a hay ride across the farm and along the Elk River. A picnic area, with tables and grills, is located in a grove of trees near the mouth of a cave.
The Manning Farm and Right Choices Corn Maze is located just north of Southwest City and east on Manning Road (Oklahoma 25 and Missouri County Road O). The farm will be open to the public every weekend - Fridays through Sundays - from Sept. 29 through Nov. 3. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Noon to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Educational field trips may be scheduled by appointment Monday through Friday by calling 417-762-3695.
“Make Right Choices,” the theme of the farm’s activities, is also the name of a book Galen has written.
“Right choices make adifference in people’s lives,” Galen said.
“Right is always right, wrong is always wrong, regardless of the circumstance,” Galen said in his book. “Right is always right, wrong is always wrong, no matter what other people do. Right choices produce right results. Wrong choices produce wrong results. Always strive to make right choices,” he wrote.
In the farm’s corn maze, visitors choose paths through the corn; and making right choices is indeed important in navigating the maze.
More information on Galen’s book can also be found at rightchoicescornmaze.com.
This year’s maze design is a Christmas tree for two reasons. Right Choices is focusing on the theme of “Choose to take care of your soul.” The Christmas tree design reminds visitors to keep Christ in the center of Christmas.
Also, the maze design is announcing the grand opening of Ozark Valley Christmas Tree Farm. Ozark Valley, a choose-and-cut Christmas Tree farm, is connected to Right Choices and will be opening from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23.
In order to support the local community, the farm will be donating $1 from every wreath sold, to the Anne Croxdale Memorial Library in Southwest City.
More information on the Christmas tree farm can be found at www.ozarkvalley christmas.com.
News, Pages 1 on 09/20/2012