By Rachel Golias
Golden stalks loom eight feet overhead. With every flutter of the wind they crackle, mocking all roving below.
The clean air entices one to relax, but as one turn after another leads to dead ends, the anticipation swells as the pressure surges.
For some, the adventure and the challenge spur them on as they race a competitor to escape the confinements of the stalks.
For others, claustrophobia may ensue as they frantically grab for their one link to civilization — the cell phone — ready to perform a GPS search or punch in 911 for an air-evacuation.
Whether daring or timid, braving the corn at Woolfolks Farm Marvelous Maze is an ought-to for everyone, young and old. The farm is the perfect place to enjoy the last moments of autumn warmth.
The adventure of Woolfolks begins about 15 miles east of Jackson along Highway 40. It is nestled among miles of farms on gently rolling hills.
As visitors arrive, an iconic John Deere tractor with a wagon covered in hay awaits the adventurers, ready to transport them to the start of their journey.
An aerial photo of the maze is displayed in the barn, but no map exists for those who enter the twists and turns covering a space of almost seven football fields.
“You can look at the photo, then you’re on your own,” said Scott Woolfolk, owner of Woolfolks Farm.
Each year, the design of the maze changes, Woolfolk said. This year’s maze was created through a partnership with country music station, Froggy 104. The maze highlights the station’s logo with the shape of a frog near the center.
Woolfolk started the corn maze in 2000 to create an enterprise that was not in the area. It is modeled after numerous corn maze farms in the Midwest.
Woolfolks Farm, a family business started in 1857, is a fully-functioning farm that raises beef cattle, corn, cotton, soybeans and Bermuda hay. Woolfolk operates the farm while his wife Cher, a Union graduate, teaches at a local school.
The Woolfolk family wanted the farm to be a fun place to educate the next generation on agriculture and give children an opportunity to see a working farm, Woolfolk said.
“We were just being crazy, I guess,” Wolfolk said on the creation of the maze.
Each person tackles the maze differently. Though there is only one entrance and one exit, once inside, there are numerous ways to go through the maze. Some enjoy leaving trails of corn kernels along the way in case they get turned around and need to backtrack.
Some people like to turn the maze into contests and races. Others encourage teamwork as they find their way out together and some will go through again and again. Whatever the method of solving the maze, the point is to have fun and get lost.
For those who successfully navigate through the maze and reach the finish, another hunt awaits them. A wide-open pumpkin patch is overflowing with orange orbs waiting to be chosen and carved just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
“Finding the perfect (pumpkin) is like hunting for the perfect Christmas tree,” Woolfolk said. Many people do not plan on looking for a pumpkin, but change their mind once they see that patch, he said.
The $7 admission fee provides access into the maze as well as other activities. Three additional mazes are geared toward children or the more timid. They include a shorter corn maze along with round and square hay bale mazes.
Farmyard games and a petting zoo also entice younger visitors while farm Frisbee and a bonfire warms up everyone on crisp days.
It is the perfect place to get out of the city and enjoy some country air, Woolfolk said.
It normally takes about two hours to enjoy the maze and other activities at the farm.
The Marvelous Maze is open during the month of October from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m.–6 p.m. on Sundays.
Clubs, organizations and groups of friends are also welcome at the farm.
The farm hosts cookouts for groups of 20 or more people any day of the week with a reservation. The package includes use of the picnic pavilion, the cookout and the maze for only $10 per person.
More information and directions to Woolfolks Farm Marvelous Maze are available at www.marvelousmaze.com or by calling Scott and Cher Woolfolk at 731-423-2583.