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Monday, September 26, 2011

'A-mazing' events taking place in cornfields across southwestern Ontario

   One-Tank Trip published Sept. 24-25/11

   (c) By Jim Fox

   You will be “a-mazed” by all the fun fall activities cropping up in area cornfields.
   How about a Toyota RAV 4 maze or a rural farm scene etched out in another?
Get lost in the labyrinth of the Toyota RAV 4-themed Norwich Optimist corn maze.
   And, watch out for Billy Bob and Coz Charlie firing up their high-powered cannon that blasts pumpkins across the field.

   This maze will drive you
   Visitors can “spin their wheels” racing around the latest model of the Norwich Optimist club’s corn maze southeast of Woodstock.
   The maze is cut into the shape of Toyota’s RAV 4 compact crossover SUV and “looks amazing,” said the club’s Doug Ellis. Toyota has a nearby plant and is a supporter of the club’s event.
   It covers 10 acres (four hectares) on the Rettie Farm and is open weekends through Oct. 30 (Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m.; Sundays and Thanksgiving Monday, noon to 5 p.m.).
   Haunted Corn Maze Nights on Oct. 22and 29 are for “those brave enough to enter as you never know what might be around the next corner.”
   Trick or Treat Day on Oct. 29 has tours and collecting candy and treats, costume judging and other activities while family movie nights are outdoors on Saturdays this month at dusk.
   There are also duck races, a mini maze, snack shack, playground, corn box and pumpkin bowling.
   Jed, the mini horse, Pete, the pot-bellied pig, sheep Ruby and Snowflake and “all of their friends” are at the petting zoo.

   Admission is $7; $5, ages five to 12; free, four and younger. Take Highway 401 to Exit 232 (Highway 59) south to Evergreen Road, three kilometres north of Norwich. www.norwichcornmaze.com

   Fun in leaps and bounds
   They plant more than corn at the Leaping Deer Adventure Farm's maze between Woodstock and Ingersoll.
The Corn Cob Express is a new ride for kids at Leaping Deer Adventure Farm.
    “Adventure awaits you as you wander through the maze,” said Julie Budd, who notes the “real challenge may be finding items we've hidden.”
   Party on the Farm is the theme for the intricate design that includes a barn, silo and cow with a silly hat as the “artist’s canvas” in the 12-acre (five-hectare) field.
   Halloween Spook Nights are next month to “navigate through the corn maze by flashlight -- if you dare.”
   Other activities include mini golf, wagon rides, a giant sand box, animal shed, pig races and pedal cars.
   There are also the antics of Billy Bob and Coz Charlie with their pumpkin cannon that splatters the gourds far and wide.
Hillbillies Billy Bob and Coz Charlie ready their "high-powered pumpkin cannon" for firing at Leaping Deere Adventure Farm.
   New are the Corn Cob express ride and the Discovery Barn with critters such as peacocks and baby bunnies along with a Country Market with local preserves, cheese, honey, maple syrup, corn and pumpkins.
   The Farmers' Table kitchen has locally inspired dishes and the bakery next month plans to have Halloween desserts such as Frankenstein brownies, One-eyed Monsters and a “Spooktacular menu.”
    Open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays and Thanksgiving Monday, noon to 5 p.m., through October. Admission: $8.99; $6.99, ages 10 and younger; free, up to two.
   Take Highway 401 to Exit 222 north (Oxford Road 6) to 544212 Clarke Rd., Ingersoll. www.leapingdeer.com; (519) 485-4795.

   Snyders means fun
   Snyders Family Farm fall festival is on weekends now through October (including Thanksgiving) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bright.
   “Fun is what it is all about,” said Megan Snyder, who said of the many attractions and huge pumpkin patch with straw bales, gourds, Indian corn and fall mums.
   There is also a corn maze, hayrides, petting zoo, pony rides, clown shows and the Haunted Barn with “Night Terrors” events.
   Enjoy pumpkin pies, apple fritters, caramel, candy apples and deep-fried Mars bars.
   Admission: $9.99; $8.99, ages three to 12; free, two and younger. www.snydersfamilyfarm.com; (519) 632-7356.
   Take Highway 401 Exit 268, then left on Oxford Road 8 (Cedar Creek Road) six kilometres to 936685 Blenheim Rd.

   Farmer Bob says howdy
   Farmer Bob’s Barnyard Adventure is a new “interactive agricultural play area” at Birtch Farms and Estate Winery (655514 15th Line), north of Woodstock.
   Along with a small corn maze is a children’s playground and is the spot for apple and pumpkin picking.
   A food and wine festival on Oct. 2 from noon to 4 p.m. with have specialties created by area chefs and foodies paired with Birtch Farms’ wines, said Dyann Birtch. www.birtchfarms.com; (519) 469-3040.

   Happening now
   Want to be a backseat rider in an old Harvard or Tiger Moth bi-plane?
   Today (Sept. 24) is the day at Wings ‘n’ Wheels at the Tillsonburg Airport put on by the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association.
   From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors can watch the “magnificent Harvard trainers take to the skies (or hitch a ride), tour the hangars and enjoy the displays” along with classic and vintage cars, said Bob Trowell. www.harvards.com; (519) 425-1510.

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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