People & Places

This season: Autumn brings corn mazes, pumpkin patches

Dane Thatcher, 6, and his sister Ashton, 4, lead parents Brian and Jacqueline through the corn maze with brother, Evan, 1, (not pictured) last year at the Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty. This year’s maze will support the North Liberty Police Department. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Dane Thatcher, 6, and his sister Ashton, 4, lead parents Brian and Jacqueline through the corn maze with brother, Evan, 1, (not pictured) last year at the Colony Pumpkin Patch in North Liberty. This year’s maze will support the North Liberty Police Department. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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The temperatures are falling, the leaves are changing and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes are filling the air — fall is here and with it comes pumpkin patches, corn mazes and hayrack rides.

“We’ve planted more pumpkins this year to better match the increased interest we had last year,” said Katie Colony, co-owner of North Liberty’s Colony Pumpkin Patch.

The Eastern Iowa pumpkin patch, which is open from today until Oct. 30, has carving pumpkins, colorful decorative pumpkins and squash, she said.

This year it also will feature an expanded play area with games for people of all ages, zombie paintball and a 5-acre corn maze with about 2.5 miles of trails and 11 different checkpoints.

This year the maze, which has a different theme every year, will highlight the North Liberty Police Department’s campaign to add a canine unit — with the outline of a police officer, a badge and police dog.

Colony said it took the Idaho-based company that created it about 12 hours over two days.

The patch’s annual fall festival will be held Oct. 8, Colony said, and include hayrack rides, a chain-saw carver, games, music and bounce house.

Ann Cejka, program director at Ushers Ferry Historic Village, said the cooler fall weather allows her 10-acre site to have a variety of activities that the summer heat makes difficult, including blacksmithing and cooking demos.

It also means the return of hayrack rides, cocoa, bonfires and crafts.

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The Cedar Rapids venue has 20 historic buildings and depicts life in Iowa between 1890 and 1910. After requests from attendees last year, Cejka said that select village buildings will be open for tours until sunset and popcorn and sarsaparilla will be available for purchase at the saloon.

Harvest Hayrack Nights will take place Sept. 28, Oct. 12 and Oct. 26.

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