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Navigating a maze of maize

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012

GET LOST – Brittany Smith navigates her way through the high, dense stalks of Greenwood’s Get Lost Maze. The maze opens Friday and will be open on weekends until Halloween. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A lost figure moves alone through the rustling green labyrinth.

Stalks sway in the wind, too tall to peer over, much too thick to fight through, dense as a jungle.

You’re stuck in a giant corn maze. There’s only one way out, and in the dark, the mind plays tricks on you.

Beginning Friday afternoon, the Get Lost Maze near Greenwood is back.

The maze is located on Farm Road 51 just north of Farm Road 1204. This year it will be open Fridays from 3 to 11 p.m., Saturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight and Sundays by appointment only.

Tickets are $10 each, and it’s free for children 5 and under.

The maze will be open later on the weekend before Halloween, until 1 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, and until 2 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27. It will also be open the 30th and 31st. Those four days, the maze will be haunted – complete with monsters, fog machines and scary sounds.

“But we don’t start any scares until after dark,” said Kriston Wilson.

Wilson’s family started the tradition of the Get Lost Maze eight years ago, but they’ve only had it every other year.

“We couldn’t have it last year because of the drought,” Wilson said. “We’ve always had to depend on the weather.”

This year they installed drip irrigation so they’ll be able to conserve water and grow the maize for the maze every year.

“We want this to become a tradition,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun. I love getting to meet people.”

And the maze is always challenging.

“In the daytime, I can get through it,” Wilson said. “But at night even I can barely get through it, and I designed it. Everything looks different at night.”

Wilson measured out the cornfield, which is about 60 feet wide and more than 300 feet long. Then she designed the maze using computer software.

It’s always been a family affair, but this year she’s been handling the maze herself.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said. “I underestimated how much goes into it.”

She planted the crop, which is a actually a sugar cane hybrid, back in July. It’s grown thicker than ever before thanks to the irrigation. Then she had to carve out the maze route with a lawnmower and machete.

Her friend, Brittany Smith, of Denton, has helped along the way.

“It was so thick when we were mowing that I had to hold a red umbrella above my head,” Smith said. “Kriston would have to mow toward that direction.

“I grew up in Indiana,” she continued. “There are a lot of cornfields up there, and I’ve never seen anything like this corn maze.”

To help people that actually do get lost in the Get Lost Maze, Wilson and Smith will be patrolling on a regular basis. And in this age of technology, people find other ways to get help.

“I’ve had people who get lost so they pull up the website on their smart phone and call me,” Wilson said.

This year they’ve added a family fun day on Saturday, Oct. 20, with face painting and a bounce house.

“We wanted something fun for some of the little kids that might be too scared to go through the maze,” Wilson said.

For more information or to schedule a birthday party or other private event, go to www.getlostmaze.com or call (940) 389-1879.

HACKING AWAY – Brittany Smith (left) and Kriston Wilson carved out this year’s Get Lost Maze. Wilson’s family has been making the mazes for eight years now. She uses a machete to clear paths. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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