By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
Something fearful awaits those who dare to enter this foreboding cornfield in Moapa. Back for its second year, the Moapa Valley Haunted Corn Maze will once again be causing screams, frights and delights at the Paul Lewis Ranch just east of the I-15 Moapa exit. And the fun starts Friday night.
Last year, for the Corn Maze’s premiere season, event organizer David Lewis said he considered it a great success. Lewis and his crew counted over 1800 people who visited the maze in its busiest weekend, just before Halloween. Overall, they estimated that about 3500 people came out throughout the month-long event.
But this year, now that word has gotten out about this small-town attraction, Lewis expects many more to come. The maze website, www.mvcornmaze.com has been lighting up like a jack-o-lantern this year with people eager to get information about the event.
“Our response this year already has been good,” said Lewis. “Last year we opened up and we weren’t sure if anyone would show up. But this year we already have people booking groups and showing interest in coming.”
Lewis said that the idea for the corn maze started with his 88 year old grandfather Paul Lewis, who owns the land where the maze is located.
“My grandpa said he wanted to do some things that would be fun on the ranch,” Lewis said. “He wanted it to be an enjoyable place where people could come with their families. So we came up with this idea for starters and it is the first one we got going.”
Lewis said that there are other plans for the property in the works. The include ATV tours around the area, kayaking on the river which runs through the middle of the ranch, group camping and more. But for now, he is focused on making the maze the best ever.
This year’s maze will be more of a challenge to navigate than last year’s, according to Lewis. The maze itself was designed for its difficulty by Lewis’ daughter Halie Gordon. She drew up the design which, from the bird’s eye, depicts a tractor pulling a cart through a pumpkin patch. Gordon’s design was then sent to a farm operation in Kansas where they put GPS coordinates to the design. Those coordinates were then followed by Lewis with a tractor in the field to cut out the maze.
“Last year we didn’t have too many people get totally lost in the maze,” Lewis said. “But this year there might be more because it is a lot harder. And it gets pretty dark in there after the sun goes down.”
To make things even more difficult, hiding inside the maze will be more than a dozen fearsome creatures, ghouls and goblins that are there to terrorize the visitors. The experience is frightening for many, Lewis said.
“We had people not get all the way through, coming back out the entrance crying and saying that they couldn’t make it,” he said. “I didn’t think it was so bad. But its just when that one character fireds up the chain saw, people get pretty scared.”
This year, Lewis has added yet another fearsome attraction. A smaller corn maze will offer a macabre game called Zombie Paintball. Each participant is given a low-powered paint ball gun. They then enter an area that is filled with gruesome zombies. The object: shoot as many zombies as you can.
“You just have to shoot at them as they come out of the corn at you,” Lewis said. “That’s pretty much all there is to it.”
Of course, these events are not for the faint of heart. But there are plenty of other activities at the farm that offer fun for a younger, more innocent crowd. The kids will love the daytime corn maze. Open from noon until 7:00 pm, this maze offers all the fun of finding your way through the maze, without all the terrifying creatures.
In addition, the ranch will offer a whole carnival midway of country fun. This area will include kiddie train rides, corn cannons, tire swings, water balls, duck races, petting zoo, horse rides around the ranch and much more.
The Moapa Valley Corn Maze will open on Friday, October 2. It is open every weekend in October: Fridays and Saturdays noon until 11:00 pm and Sundays from noon to 8:00 pm. The haunted corn maze and zombie paint ball start at 7:00 pm on each night.
Additionally, the evening of Wednesday, October 21 is being set aside for youth groups to reserve special activities. Space on that night is filling up fast and reservations are required.
For more information or to schedule group visits go to www.mvcornmaze.com.