"Our attendance is down slightly from last year," said Stephanie Doner, administrator for the GRIP Boys Home that sponsors the attraction. "We had some rain when we first opened and that hurt our crowds. However, now that we have the haunted maize open, the attendance has really picked up."
Yakov Smirnoff, a Russian comedian who performs in Branson, is the centerpiece of this year's Corn Maize in Verona, just off of Highway 60.
The maize features over seven acres of corn and is operated by GRIP Boys Home in Verona with the help of farmer Jim Sherwood. Sponsors of the attraction are the Springfield Cardinals, Pioneer Seed, Coast to Coast and Clear Channel Communications. The maize opened on Sept. 17 for its 13th season.
GRIP Boys Home is a non-profit orgainization located in Verona, where every fall they operate the corn maze as their annual fundraiser.
"This is our biggest fundraiser of the year," said Doner. "We have always been blessed with good attendance and community support."
This year, the Maize has something for everyone, including the cow train, movie nights, hay rides, campfires, country store, hillbilly shootin' range, corn cannon, boxer jocks, pumpkin chuckin' and farm animals. For the young maze lovers there is a Lil' Kernals CORNer with the corn box, bouncer and games. The feed wagon will be on site to provide barbecue and refreshments.
The Maize gives visitors the chance to "get lost" through Oct. 29. Hours of operation are 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.
The "Field of Screams" haunted maze began on Sept. 30 and runs every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The cost is $8 for ages 12 and up, $4 for ages 5-11 and free for veterans, military with ID and children 4 and under.
Field trip hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday by reservation only. Discounts are offered for groups and field trips.