Corn Maze opening in Milton
MILTON — Not all who wander are lost.
But if you’re wandering around the 8 1/2-acre corn maze behind the old Milton Middle School, chances are you are lost.
And that’s OK, just blame your dad — he’s probably directionally challenged. Yep, it’s all in good family fun as Kim and Joyce Cooper along with their family and friends present the 18th year of the Cooper Family Farms’ Corn Maze.
In spite of a super-soggy start, the Maze has now dried out and is gearing up for a big weekend with as many as 50,000 people rolling into Milton for the annual West Virginia Pumpkin Festival.
Located behind the old Milton Middle School, off U.S. 60 in the heart of Milton, the Maze is open 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. The Maze is also open Monday through Thursday by reservation. To make a group booking, call Joyce, 304-634-1722, or Kim, 304-634-MAZE (6293).
Kim Cooper, a veteran family farmer who also happens to be the assistant superintendent of Cabell County Schools, said they didn’t have to reach too far for this year’s design idea — it’s cut into a
Family Tree with the word “family” spelled out on the side.
In years past, Cooper and crew have carved out corn paths in the shape of everything from the New River Gorge Bridge and pumpkins to Uncle Sam, a tribute to Woody Williams (last year) and even the state of West Virginia.
Cooper, a lifelong local educator, said the theme seemed just right at the Maze, which has a theme of “Discover why getting lost with family and friends means finding fun.”
“There’s so many families that come down and people get to sit back and relax for a few minutes around the campfire before they go in or after they go out and so being at the Maze gives families and friends some quality time together,” Cooper said.
Cooper said the family theme is also a nod to his own family led by his wife Joyce and their kids, Kelsi Miller and Colin Cooper, as well as a handful of super faithful friends and family who take care of the maze.
That Maze team includes their nephew Jack Chapman and his wife Amber, their friends Jonathan Black, Dale and Missy Martin, Brian Linville and Rick and Rachel Payton.
“Every person kind of has their own job that they have become accustomed to doing through the year and so it truly is a family thing. We may not all be out there all the time or at the same time, but everybody is out there at some point and everybody can do about 90 percent of everything. My wife can do it all but she said she won’t learn to drive the tractor because she knows she’ll get stuck with it,” Kim said with a laugh.
In addition to the Maze, which has new passports (the themed trivia booklets that if you answer questions correctly guide you through all the right turns in the maze), there’s also a concession stand, a fire pit area, the cow train for kids, the corn crib crawl adventures and a new and improved kids play area. Cost for the maze is $8 for anyone ages 4 and older; 3 and younger get in free, and group rates are $7 for groups of 10 or more.
There’s also a pumpkin patch where folks can buy pumpkins (priced depending on size). There’s also birthday parties available at the maze, as well as a tent rental for the fire pit area as well.
The Maze will also be hosting its popular Field of Screams Haunted Maze Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20 and and Oct. 26-27. Admission is $12 per person regardless of age. No discounts or reservations for haunted times.
Like every family farmer, Cooper has dealt through the years with everything from the derecho and its devastating winds to Mud River floods, droughts and anything else Mother Nature could throw their way. This year has had its own problems as they have battled late summer rains and flooding since opening.
“Last weekend we closed all weekend and that has never happened in our 18 years,” Cooper said. “The creek backed up and the maze was in pretty good shape but the access road in and out had water there. We’re in the process of drying out now and we will be ready to go. Of course with thousands of people visiting the Pumpkin Festival we hope to get a lot of groups and families that want to come down to see us too. Milton is the place to be this weekend.”
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Cooper Family Farms Corn Maze, an 8 1/2-acre cornfield cut into a maze.
WHERE: The farm is on U.S. 60 in Milton, with public parking available behind the old Milton Middle School.
WHEN: Hours of operation will be 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays, with Monday through Thursday available by reservation only.
HOW MUCH: Cost for the maze is $8 for anyone ages 4 and up; 3 and under get in free and group rates are $7 for groups of 10 or more. Admission includes the maze, a playground, fire pit area, corn crib crawl and more. There’s also a pumpkin patch where folks can buy pumpkins (priced depending on size). Birthday parties are available at the maze, as well as a tent rental for the fire pit area as well.
HAUNTED MAZE: Field of Screams Haunted Maze Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27. Admission is $12 per person regardless of age. No discounts or reservations for haunted times.
CONTACT: For more information, visit www.cooperfamilyfarms.net and for group reservations call 304-634-1722 or 304-634-MAZE.