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Mazes offer cornucopia of fun

Leigh Ann Laube • Sep 9, 2011 at 3:39 AM

There’s a new kid on the corn maze block. Cleek Farms and Corn Maze, located at 2233 Cleek Road just off Stone Drive near Trader’s Village in Kingsport, has turned its four-acre cornfield into a tribute to agriculture with the theme “Down on the Farm” and a maze that features a barn, a tractor and a cow. There’s also a smaller, 2.2-acre maze just for youngsters. The Charles and Margaret Cleek Family Farm is now operated primarily by their youngest daughter Kay and husband Zane Vanover on lands claimed as a portion of the Pendleton land grant in 1756. According to a history of the farm, the 3,000-acre land grant was given to Edmund Pendleton and remained primarily wilderness. In 1793, a log home was constructed by Samuel Moore on the property. It’s not known how Moore received the land from Pendleton, but the original structure of the home he built is still present on the property. Moore’s daughter Letitia married John S. Gaines, and they lived in a home built on what is now Exchange Place before moving back to Moore’s property, called Meadowplace. Meadowplace remained in the Gaines family for many years, before being owned by the Crussell family and then acquired by Vernon and Florence Cleek of Piney Flats in 1938. The family had two sons, Charles and Ed, who along with their father tended the land. The Cleek family referred to the farm as Valley Crest. One of the main components of their farm was the addition of a dairy herd, which was dispersed in 1998. The farm operation now includes primarily cattle and hay production. The decision to open a corn maze, as well as other fall-related activities, is a way to share the farm with the community as well as educate them about agriculture, according to Zane Vanover. “We were looking for something that our children and son-in-law could continue to do in the future,” he said. “Farming’s really changed over the years. This has been a farm since 1938 in our family.” Cleek Farms will open on Sept. 17 and close on Oct. 30. In addition to the corn mazes, the farm will offer school field trips by appointment only; hay rides; pumpkins and fall decorations; a cow train; a corn bin; and special events including performances by the Railroad Angels on Sept. 24, the Dixie Bee-Liners on Oct. 1, Brinley Addington on Oct. 8 and Robbie Spencer on Oct. 22. Flashlight nights will be held every Friday and Saturday night after dark, but the maze won’t be haunted, at least not this year, Vanover said. For hours, pricing and more information, call (423) 765-3123 or visit www.cleekfarms.com . Other corn mazes in the area include: Beck Mountain Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch 144 Webb Hollow Loop Elizabethton, Tenn. (423) 543-2676 www.beckmountaincorn maze.com The four-acre corn maze at Beck Mountain opens Sept. 17 and will offer plenty of turns, cross paths and dead ends — but only one way out. The $6 general admission fee includes the regular daytime maze, petting zoo, fire pit, playground and barn. Hay rides, the needle-in-thehaystack activity and The Mr. Bill & Bodie Show are an additional $2 each. The haunted maze, haunted barn and haunted hay rides begin Sept. 30 and continue through October. Visit w w w. b e c k m o u n t a i n c o r n m a z e . c o m for ticket prices and hours of operation. Cope Farms 240 Harlan Road Rogersville, Tenn. (423) 327-2586 Visitors will find plenty of family friendly fun at Cope Farms, open Sept. 16-Oct. 29. Hours are 6-10 p.m., Fridays; 2-10 p.m., Saturdays; and other days and times for church and school groups by reservation. The farm features a seven-acre corn maze, which will be haunted at dusk throughout October, along with a one-acre corn maze and a hay maze perfect for young guests. The farm also features hay rides, a petting zoo and children’s games. Admission is $7 in September and $10 in October. Fender’s Farm 254 Highway 107 Jonesborough, Tenn. (423) 753-4469 w w w. f e n d e r s m a z e . c o m Fender’s Farm is an adventure for all ages — laughter by day and screams by night. Open Sept. 9-Oct. 31, the farm offers a seven-acre corn maze and three-acre Field of Screams. There are also pumpkins, mums, gourds, hay rides and a cow train. This year’s seven-acre maze at Fender’s Farm honors the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Admission to the Relay for Life maze is $10 for ages 12 and up, $9 for ages 4-11 and free for those 3 and under with a paying adult. Admission is $10 to the Insane Inn, $10 to the WQUT Field of Screams, or $15 for a combo ticket. Visit www.fendersmaze.com for operating hours and other information. Kim’s Crazy Corn Maze Walnut Tree Farm Highway 58 Castlewood, Va. (276) 762-5481 or (276) 794-7420 w w w. k i m s c r a z y c o r n m a z e . c o m Get lost on the farm Fridays through Sundays, Sept. 16-Oct. 30 at Kim’s Crazy Corn Maze. New attractions and old favorites offered this year include the corn maze, corn box, hay jump, antique tractor hay ride, ride the bull and pick your own pumpkin. There’ll also be campfires for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. Concessions are available as well. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Operating hours are 6-10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, and 1-6 p.m., Sundays. Daytime hours and group rates are available weekdays and Saturdays by appointment. Punkin Patch Farm 984 Cowans Creek Road Nickelsville, Va. (276) 479-3228 A family-owned working farm, the Punkin Patch welcomes schools, churches and individuals for hay rides, a petting zoo, tractor-pulled hay rides, pre-picked produce and a corn maze. The farm is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week through Oct. 31. Bluegrass jam sessions will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday, with a fall harvest celebration set for 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sept. 24. Stickley Farm Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch 531 Timbermill Pvt. Drive Bluff City, Tenn. (423) 306-9994 or (423) 306-2173 w w w. t h e s t i c k l e y f a r m . c o m The Stickley Farm Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch will pay tribute to locally grown produce with a maze covering a canvas of corn over 10 acres in size. Using the “Pick Tennessee Products” logo, the maze also incorporates the Stickley Farm name and logo. There’s also a smaller maze for children. Other attractions include hayrides, a swing set, play house, corn boxes, children’s games and concessions. The mazes and farm festivities open Sept. 17. The haunted maze is open every Friday and Saturday night starting Sept. 23. Admission to the regular maze is $8 for ages 12 and up, and $7 for children ages 6 through 11; children 5 and under are admitted free. Admission to the haunted maze is $10. Hours of operation are 6-9 p.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays; 6-11 p.m., Fridays; noon-11 p.m., Saturdays; and 1-6 p.m., Sundays.

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