Corn maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield a nod to state’s aeronautical history

Corn maze at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield a nod to state’s aeronautical history


MIDDLEFIELD — Families ventured into the corn maze at Lyman Orchards on Saturday, relying on their wits to find their way back out.

“The beginning was exciting, but after we had been in there for a little while it’s terrifying,” said Juliet Caulfield, 7, of Simsbury. About 45 minutes after entering the maze, Caulfield came running out of the exit and flopped on the ground, awash in her newly regained freedom.

“Our fearless leader led us out,” Caulfield said, referring to her father, Patrick Caulfield. The Caulfields are regulars at Lyman Orchards and they were sure to make it to the opening of the corn maze on Saturday. The maze will remain open until Nov. 5.

While some people were scared by the 2-mile maze, John Lyman, one of the farm’s owners, said the maze is meant to have an educational purpose. Lyman said this year’s theme was Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, the first nonstop flight of its kind.

“I think the Spirit of St. Louis brought the whole country together,” Lyman said, referring to the plane Lindbergh flew to Paris 90 years ago.

The pathways through the maze form an outline of Lindbergh’s face in the corn, with Lyman Orchards written in the winding pathways above him.

“You can’t help but feel happy when you go through the maze,” Lyman said.

Some of the inspiration for this year’s theme came from Connecticut’s influence on the modern aeronautical industry, with major manufacturers headquartered in the state. At each of the maze’s crossroads there is a question about Lindbergh’s flight or aeronautics. The right answer will put one on the path to the exit, while wrong answers will leave them wandering to dead ends.

When the Lyman Orchards began creating the mazes in 2000, education was just one of the goals. The event also raises money for the American Cancer Society, with $1 of each entrance fee donated to the charity.

Lyman said he looks forward to a day when all cancers are cured.

“In the meantime, they’re doing a tremendous job,” he said of the American Cancer Society.

“A dollar doesn’t sound like a lot, but look what it accumulates,” said Deb McKenzie, a Wallingford resident who volunteers with the Hamden and North Haven Relay for Life. In the 17 years the corn maze has been running, it has raised nearly $540,000 for the American Cancer Society.

“I took care of patients with cancer,” said McKenzie, a retired nurse. “I had family members who suffered and have been lost to cancer.”

“I feel very committed to the relay,” she said.

“It supports our mission to save lives,” said Lynn Kipphut, the cancer society’s community manager. The society has 75 to 100 volunteers, called corn cops, throughout the maze helping todirect those who are lost.

“To see our volunteers so passionate is really rewarding,” Kipphut said. “We can’t be successful without our volunteers.”

“I think what they’re doing is really good,” said Arielle Sussman, 12, of Farmington. Having volunteered for Relay for Life in the past, she said she might consider volunteering at the corn maze one day.

As for the maze, she said it wasn’t too much of a challenge. She knew a lot of the answers to the questions already from school.

“If you knew your historical events, it made it easier. From an educational perspective it was really fun,” Sussman said.

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