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Local farm pays tribute to Patterson with maze design

Local farm pays tribute to Patterson with maze design

The first 100 guests to Fantozzi Farms' centennial-themed corn maze today will receive free admission.


POSTED September 25, 2009 11:43 p.m.
Fantozzi Farms is celebrating the City of Patterson’s 100th birthday in a unique way. The farm has transformed its annual corn maze into a design that honors the city’s centennial, incorporating Center building, palm trees, apricots, and other icons of Patterson into 5.3 miles of pathways.
Also in honor of Patterson’s centennial, Fantozzi Farms will be admitting the first 100 guests on today free of charge.
Denise Fantozzi said that Fantozzi Farms has been in the corn maze business since 2003. The days of hand-cutting corn mazes are long gone, and Fantozzi Farms uses a fairly high-tech system for creating their mazes. Fantozzi said that once the design for a new maze is complete, they give it to a company that specializes in corn maze cutting. The company incorporates pathways into the design, and maps the pathways on a GPS grid. The map is then uploaded to hand-held GPS devices that are attached to tractors.
“From there the tractor drivers just have to follow the GPS route,” Fantozzi said.
It took between eight and nine hours for the tractor drivers to cut out the pathways for the Patterson centennial design, which is actually two separate mazes. Fantozzi said that the corn is usually about three feet high when the maze is cut, but can grow to between eight and 12 feet high by the time the mazes open.
“There is no chance that people can just look over the top and see the way out. But we do give guests a map,” Fantozzi said.
The farm has two large mazes every year, but they are usually autumn or Halloween designs.
“We wanted to recognize the city for being 100 years old,” Fantozzi said about this year’s design.
Each maze has six checkpoints, which serve as “you are here” maps for guests to gauge their progress within the maze. The farm also hires guides, who they call “corn cobs,” to help lost guests out of the mazes.
Fantozzi Farms is most famous for their Haunted Maze, which is open every weekend in October. The maze, which is smaller than the Patterson centennial mazes, is staffed by actors dressed as monsters and zombies who scare visitors. Guests are required to bring a flashlight to navigate the dark depths of the maze from 7 p.m. to closing.
In addition to the corn mazes, Fantozzi Farms also has a pumpkin patch, a hay bale labyrinth, hay bale pyramids and other attractions in their courtyard. New to the farm this year is a petting zoo and weekend pig races.
Fantozzi said that she and the rest of the Fantozzi Farms operators enjoy providing a family-friendly atmosphere.
“We love doing this for the community. It brings out kids who wouldn’t normally experience this kind of thing,” she said.
For tickets, pricing information, and photos of previous mazes, visit www.fantozzifarms.com.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.

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