Volunteers visitors make Corn Maze Festival successful

Richard Bogren, Kuehny, Jeff S.

Kierstyn Allen, of Kenly, North Carolina, concentrates as she paints a pumpkin at the Corn Maze Festival on Oct. 3 at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden. (Photo by Rick Bogren, LSU AgCenter)

Owen Kwast, of Denham Springs, Louisiana, was so excited to be going to the Corn Maze Festival that he insisted in wearing his overalls for the trip to the “farm.” (Photo by Rick Bogren, LSU AgCenter)

Kerry Hawkins, president of the Burden Horticulture Society, left, and Jeff Kuehny, resident director of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden, sample corn during the Corn Maze Festival on Oct. 3. The corn is maturing and should be available at the concession stand for later corn maze events. (Photo by Rick Bogren, LSU AgCenter)

News Release Distributed 10/08/15

BATON ROUGE, La. – More than 100 volunteers monitored people in the corn maze, managed the giant slingshot and hay mountain, served refreshments, oversaw the pumpkin-painting area and contributed much more as hundreds of families visited the opening day of the Corn Maze Festival at Burden on Oct. 3.

The annual activity has grown each year and welcomes families and individuals from throughout the state, said Jeff Kuehny, director of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden. “But we couldn’t do it without a great bunch of volunteers willing to spend their time sharing a bit of what we love with the public.”

Volunteers at the opening event included representative from the Burden Horticulture Society, Alpha Epsilon Delta National Health Preprofessional Honor Society and National Charity League among many others.

The National Charity League will have volunteers for each Saturday during October, said Kristy Mayes, who coordinates the league’s volunteer activities for the corn maze. The National Charity League is an organization of mothers and daughters in grades seven to 12 who volunteer to help nonprofit activities in their communities.

While attracting visitors to the activities, the corn maze also serves to inform the public about agriculture and the food supply, said Kerry Hawkins, president of the Burden Horticulture Society.

“It’s all about celebrating corn; sort of a corn festival,” Hawkins said. “We want to help participants realize where food comes from – not just the grocery store.”

The corn theme will be expanded in later weeks with fresh roastin’ ears added to the corn dogs, popcorn and drinks sold by the Burden Horticulture Society, Hawkins said.

“It’s a chance for people to learn about agriculture while having fun in the middle of Baton Rogue,” Kuehny said.

The design of the maze is a pelican, the Louisiana state bird, Kuehny said. It was designed and cut by AgCenter research associate Keith Lewis.

Nikki Allen, of Kenly, North Carolina, brought her daughter Kierstyn, who was in town visiting her grandmother.

“It was tons of fun today,” Allen said. “Kierstyn liked the maze and the animals at the petting farm.”

Owen Kwast insisted he be dressed in his overalls, boots and John Deere cap because he was going to the farm, said his mother Cheri Kwast.

The family, including father Jeremiah and little brother Lewis, came for the second year.

When Owen heard the family was coming to the corn maze, he was excited and decided he had to dress like a farmer, Cheri Kwast said.

The family also visited Burden for Arbor Day in January, said Jeremiah Kwast. “This is a great place to bring the family.”

Chantel and Chet Allen, of Denham Springs, brought their children Blakley and Grayson to enjoy the activities.

“We came last year, and we enjoyed it,” said Chet Allen. “It’s a great atmosphere for the kids.”

“It’s fun to bring the kids out and let them experience it,” Chantel Allen said as the family was leaving the maze and heading to the hay mountain.

The corn maze covers about four acres, and the hay mountain designed by arborist Glen Wilson includes about 40 round bales of hay and 100 square bales of hay, Kuehny said.

The festival will continue on Oct. 10, 17 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and culminate with a Night Maze and bonfire on Halloween, Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The family-oriented Night Maze will offer fun times for children of all ages to spend Halloween night, Kuehny said. Visitors are invited to come dressed in their Halloween costumes.

Admission to Corn Maze Festival events is $7 per person on Oct. 10, 17 and 24 and $10 per person for the Night Maze on Oct. 31; children 3 and under admitted free.

Rick Bogren
10/8/2015 9:12:10 PM
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