Athens farm says even a tornado couldn’t stop their 2017 corn maze

2017 corn maze design at Mayfield Family Farm (Julie Mayfield)

ATHENS, Tenn. (WATE) — What could be a quite corn maze is bustling with a crunch and clank of last minute work.

Mayfield Family Farm, located off Highway 307, is getting ready to open their annual corn maze and pumpkin patch Saturday at 11 a.m., but opening has not been easy. In November, a tornado swept through the family farm ripping off roofing, destroying a few buildings and left multiple power lines down throughout the farm.

Milking parlor after November tornado (Julie Mayfield)

The list of buildings and structures on the farm damaged by the storm included fencing for animals, the historic milking parlor, the T-barn, the ticketing and concession building, the restrooms, kids’ slides, corn box, huge power poles, and the ever-popular jumpy pillow.

“We’re working hard every day to get things back together in time for our September 23rd opening date,” said Mayfield. “It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but we’re focused on the good old-fashioned family fun and memories we get to help create this fall.”

Thankfully, the crops and the fields weren’t damaged, so Mayfield says everything is on track for this year’s pumpkin patch and corn maze. However, with Hurricane Irma pushing up through East Tennessee the farm had a second scare.

“I don’t think we got anything over 20 mile per hour gusts, which at one point they were predicting 40 to 50 mile per hour gusts even here,” said Mayfield. Forty and 50 is a problem, that starts to lay corn down.”

Hay ride at Mayfield Family Farm (Julie Mayfield)

On the flip side, Mayfield says the rain from Hurricane Irma actually helped the corn maze grow taller. He says he is proud this season is a reality because he wants people to come out to his farm to get a pumpkin, take their picture, make a memory and create a tradition.

The corn maze and pumpkin patch are open September 23 through the end of October. General admission tickets for children ages 2 to 10 years of age are $9 and adults are $11, with pumpkins priced according to size. Over 25 farm activities are included in the admission price.

For more information, visit the farm’s website.

Other fall activities

Dollywood Harvest Festival

(Creative Commons)

Dollywood is adding thousands of carved and illuminated jack-o-lanterns as part of their harvest festival.

Great Pumpkin LumiNights will run September 28 to October 28 throughout Timber Canyon. The park says the “nighttime harvest experience” is the largest addition ever made to Dollywood’s fall festival. They said it will feature artistic sculptures and whimsical themes.

Click here for more details.

14th Annual Pumpkintown Festival in Athens

Athens Pumpkintown Festival (Meredith Wilson)

Athens annual Pumpkintown Festival takes place downtown on October 14 from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pumpkintown is among East Tennessee’s premier fall festivals and is one of the largest annually attended events in McMinn County. The day-long celebration brings to life the rich cultural history and heritage of McMinn County and is named for a former McMinn County settlement.

Old favorites will also be returning, including the Scott Crisp Memorial PowWow, the Mutt Strutt and Doggie Costume Contest, and “Pumpkin Plinko.” New to the festival for 2017 is Christ Legacy Academy’s 5k Run and Fun Walk as well as a showcase of forty East Tennessee Corvettes. Live entertainment on Market Park Pavilion stage and the Courthouse Steps Bluegrass Stage includes, Shane Lowe, Stormy & Adrian, Reliance Bluegrass Band, Maziaah Mountain, September Song, Dreams of Kings, Athens Area Children’s Choir, and Momentum Academy Dance.

Oakes Corn Maze

(Oakes Farm)

Enjoy a 9 acre corn maze and a hayride to the pumpkin patch at Oakes Farm.

General admission is $11.95 for ages 11 and up. Kids two to 10 are $9.95 and children under the age of two are free. The farm also has concession stands, a huge assortment of fall decorations, crafts and gift items.

Jack’s Pumpkin Patch in Knoxville

(Jack’s Pumpkin Patch)

Jack’s Pumpkin Patch will open Friday, September 22 at 3 p.m. at the Northshore Town Center.

The patch is located directly across from Target with pumpkins, fall decor, arts and crafts for the family, food vendors and live music. Liz Christiansen is the founder and creator of Jack’s Patch, a mom to four who says she has always had a dream of running her own fall themed, activity filled patch.

Smoky Mountain Speedway Harvest Festival in Maryville

(Smoky Mountain Speedway)

The Smoky Mountain Speedway will feature lots of entertainment for all ages during the Saturday September 23rd event dubbed the Slingin’ Dirt for Vicky event and the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.

Three racing series will converge on the Foothills of the Smoky Mountains for a thrilling night of action. Fore more information, visit Smoky Mountain Speedway’s website.

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