With the general election one month away, businesses in Turlock and surrounding areas are gearing up for the big day with presidential-themed tricks and treats.
With corn mazes in the past including characters like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” Dracula and even Colin Kaepernick, Fanotozzi Farms in Patterson is no stranger to creating incredibly detailed and entertaining corn maze designs. The pumpkin patch and farm has taken a political approach to this year’s maze theme, which depicts both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and the word “vote” in big, bold letters above their heads.
When trying to come up a theme for the 2016 maze, Fantozzi Farms owner Denise Fantozzi didn’t have to think long.
“We thought it was a fitting theme for this year,” said Fanotozzi. “It’s our presidential election and has been getting a lot of attention, and it’s a great opportunity to educate the kids.”
In the fall, Fantozzi Farms plays host to countless classrooms who take annual field trips to the pumpkin patch. Fantozzi and her husband, Paul, saw a chance to inform the children about the country’s democracy, past presidents and how to vote.
“As Americans, we think that it’s a privilege to vote and we want them to realize that,” said Fantozzi.
At the farm’s pumpkin patch, visiting children can partake in presidential trivia, and even see the daunting path that our presidents had to take in order to make it to the White House.
“The path is on a big board, so even the younger kids can follow along and see how they can maybe make it to the White House one day,” said Fantozzi.
There are other educational displays, too, such as presentations on the election process. While the displays are meant to educate the children attending the pumpkin patch, Fantozzi said that adults join in on the fun as well, often learning something new.
The presidential corn maze took between nine and 10 hours to construct, said Fantozzi, and every maze runner that successfully finds each checkpoint within the maze receives a free, medium-sized pumpkin. No matter who the maze runners are voting for, the corn maze is guaranteed fun.
“Everybody has been very supportive of it so far and is enjoying the maze,” said Fantozzi.
In Turlock, Olde Tyme Pastries is continuing their tradition of creating cookies emblazoned with each of the major political parties’ candidates. This year, customers can enjoy a bite out of either Clinton or Trump.
“We’ve done it for the last two or three elections,” said Olde Tyme owner Terri Coonce. “It’s just something fun to see if the cookie that sells the most wins or not.”
During the 2012 election, Olde Tyme sold more Obama cookies than they did Romney, said Coonce, and the President went on to be reelected for a second term. As of this week, the race between the Trump and Clinton cookies is too tough to call.
“Everyday it’s different,” said Coonce. “One day we sell more Trump cookies and the next we sell more Clinton cookies.”
The short dough cookies are topped with a vanilla icing, which is then covered with the scanned image of either Clinton or Trump. There are also cookies which feature the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant. While many who buy the cookies are simply expressing support for their favorite candidate, Coonce explained that some purchases may come from customers with ulterior motives.
“Sometimes it’s hard to say if they’re buying them because they like the person, or if they’re giving them to someone who doesn’t like that candidate,” said Coonce.
Undoubtedly, the cookies have inspired fun and conversations about politics inside of Olde Tyme. But, Coonce also hopes that the cookies remind residents to make their voices heard this November in the election.
“It’s a fun thing that we hope just gets people thinking about it,” said Coonce.
Turlock residents can head over to the pastry shop and get a dozen cookies with their favorite candidate’s face on it to enjoy this Sunday, when the second presidential debate takes place.
The first debate on Sept. 26 was the most-watched debate in American history, with well over 80 million people tuning in to see Trump and Clinton face off for the first time. More recently, the first Obama-Romney debate in 2012 averaged 67 million viewers.
At 6 p.m. on Oct. 9, the two presidential candidates will meet at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri for the second of three scheduled debates. The debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates will have two minutes to respond and there will be an additional minute for the moderator to facilitate further discussion. The town meeting participants will be uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.