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Fighting dragons between corn rows
Leslie Enns wears her wedding dress to work as she, husband Darren and their blended family of seven children greet visitors at Castle in the Corn, their new corn maze just south of Domain.
The family members dress up as princesses, knights and dragons to give visitors a medieval adventure as they walk through the 10-acre maze created in the shape of a castle. Visitors are invited to rescue the princesses while guarding against roving dragons. Knights are able to counteract a dragon’s tag so would-be rescuers can continue their quest.
"We’re trying to create a very different experience," Leslie said.
The maze has had a steady stream of visitors since it opened in early August. Visitors from Ontario and Nova Scotia who walked through other corn mazes told the Enns that Castle in the Corn was well-designed and they had a lot of fun during their tour.
Two 16-foot high turrets are visible above the corn stalks that tower up to seven feet in height. Darren planted double corn rows along the maze’s pathways so the stalks block visitors’ views of other pathways. Since it’s possible to get lost, the Enns provide visitors with maps that include reference points.
Leslie estimated that most visitors will take up to 90 minutes to walk through the entire maze.
While corn mazes are common in parts of the U.S. and Eastern Canada, Manitoba families like the Enns are beginning to see them as a way of raising additional income.
Darren farms and grows 160 acres of feed corn. This year corn prices are high due to the drought in the U.S. Midwest, but even though he won’t harvest the ears within the maze, he and Leslie are excited about the launch of their new business venture.
The couple started talking about creating a maze two years ago. Leslie found a castle photo and her mother used grid paper to map out the design. They then recreated the paper grid within the field using stakes and baler twine, carefully marking out the pathways and clearings. In May when the corn was a few inches high, they roto-tilled the pathways so they would remain clear.
Expanding on the maze’s medieval theme, the Enns added a bouncy castle for children. Leslie’s son Teagen suggested that the family make hand-painted wooden swords and small shields for sale in the gift shop.
Money from a dunk tank will be donated through the local school to a charity that provides clean drinking water for people in India.
Leslie said they have received a few birthday party bookings and are hoping to attract some youth groups in the fall. Darren added businesses could use a trip through the maze as an employee team-building exercise.
The maze is located one kilometer south of Domain on PR 330 and is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. until September when the hours change to 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. If it looks like rain, you can check http://4lane.9k.com/index.html to see if the maze is open.
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