SPRING GROVE, ILL. - The corn was "knee-high by the Fourth of July" at Richardson Adventure Farm, just an hour northwest of Chicago, where the Richardson family is putting the finishing touches on the design for their 16th corn maze.
This year's maze is a tribute to the 50th anniversary of "Star Trek", and the Richardsons are hoping it will be as popular as last year's Blackhawks' maze, which attracted more than 80,000 people.
"We got the go-ahead from CBS and Paramount" said Wendy Richardson, one of the five family members who own and operate the maze. "And we have permission to use Leonard Nimoy's and William Shatner's images."
The "maze master" from Idaho arrived July 9 to cut 10 miles of trails into the 28-acre corn field, guided by a GPS system mounted on his tractor. As the corn grows higher, the Richardsons will roto-till and tamp the paths that form the intricate design. To see a video of the maze being cut, along with an explanation by George Richardson, check out this YouTube link:
What's new this year? "Sixteen acres of pumpkins," said Robert Richardson. "That's the most ever, all sizes and colors: from two pounds to 150 pounds, orange, white, blue, smooth and warty. And we brought some beehives in, so there'll be lots of pollination."
Richardson Farm has been in the family since 1840, and they planted their first corn maze in 2001. Over the years, it has become an annual destination for family fun, with a 28-acre maze that's different every year, plus more than 30 activities, including wagon rides, pig races, a carousel and a "park train" that runs on real tracks. Most of the activities are included in the admission fee. Only a few, such as the zip line and orb rides, cost extra. Private picnic sites and campfires are available by reservation, and there's plenty of free parking. New this year is a popcorn shop, and all the favorite foods are back, including fresh donuts, kettle corn and fudge. Admssion is $16 for ages 13 and up, $13 for ages 4-12 and free for ages 3 and under.
Richardson Adventure Farm is open Sept. 3 - Oct. 30, Wednesdays through Sundays, plus Labor Day and Columbus Day. For more info, log on to