By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch recently opened for its fourth season and will remain open through October.
The Fly Creek Valley Farm, where the maze is situated, has been in the Pernat family for more than 100 years, but the maze opened in 2018.
Ellen Pernat said thinking about how fun a maze would be for her kids and their friends was an inspiration to make use of the family land. She said it was a difficult time economically in the dairy farm industry, so the maze, along with the success of growing pumpkins and selling them roadside, were motivators.
Pernat said multiple family members work together to run the maze.
“We all have different strengths,” Pernat said.
She said it wouldn’t be the same if any of the family members involved tried to run the business alone.
Pernat said the experience of raising children on family land and being able to let them run and play on the expanse without fear for their safety contributed to the decision to open the corn maze.
“Those (people) from cities or bigger towns may not be able to sit under a tent and watch their children run and play. That experience is something I wanted to give to more parents,” she said.
Pernat said she loves seeing people have fun on her family’s land. She remembers one family who, when they first arrived, seemed frustrated and reluctant to enter the maze.
“By the end, they were all smiling and the husband and wife were holding hands,” she said.
Since its opening, neighbor Megan Hribar has visited Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze two to three times each year.
Hribar said one of her favorite memories of the maze is when a birthday party for her daughter was held there. Each child received a pumpkin and got to go through the maze. She said the Pernat family regularly updates the atmosphere of the maze through haunted mazes, pet dress-up events and other activities.
Hribar said the changes make a visit to the maze fresh and exciting even for repeat customers. She said her daughter looks forward to fall every year in large part because of the maze.
Heather Kovatchitch said she first found out about the opening of the maze through Facebook and since the first year, she and her family have visited at least once a season.
Kovatchitch said she appreciates that, unlike some mazes, Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze is not always focused on haunted houses and Halloween. She also appreciates its friendly atmosphere which, she said, makes it welcoming to all.
Pernat said from 6 until 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, the maze will host a “wine walk” night. The event, in partnership with Montezuma Winery, will allow visitors to go to food trucks scheduled to be on site for the event, and those 21 and over can get a glass of wine and sip it as they go through the maze.
Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze is open on weekends and federal holidays in September and October between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. On select evenings, night mazes and haunted mazes are offered.
The Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch is at 1316 County Route 26 in Fly Creek.
Go to Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch on Facebook or www.flycreekvalleycornmaze.com for more information.