ARLINGTON — As Foster's Produce & Corn Maze gets ready for the first weekend of its annual Fall Pumpkin & Corn Maze Festival this month, Connie Foster recalled how the event has grown since she and her husband Brian started it in 1998.
"We've added five acres to our corn maze, to make it a total of 10 acres," said Connie Foster, co-owner of Foster's Produce & Corn Maze. "We've also added a couple more acres to our pumpkin patch to make that 10 acres too."
Foster's "Pirate Ship Adventures Corn Maze" challenges participants to find 15 items and 23 letters in the corn maze, to come up with a phrase that will solve a riddle, although Connie Foster promised one final twist to the game that she can't reveal in print. By contrast, this year's pumpkin slingshot promises to be a slightly more straightforward activity.
"We hand people a slingshot and some small pumpkins, and for $1, they get three tries to hit a target," Foster said. "If they make it, they win an ice cream cone. It's usually 8-year-old girls who win this thing, but it's fun for all ages. We even let adults do it, although we set the target back further to be fair."
Connie Foster also promised that this year's pumpkin harvest would provide plenty of appealing choices to pick from in Foster's "You-Pick" pumpkin patch.
"This is probably one of the best pumpkin harvests we've had," Foster said. "You need heat and moisture to grow really good pumpkins, and we got plenty of both this year. There have been years where our pumpkins haven't even turned orange, because of the weather, but that's sure not the case this year."
Connie Foster welcomed attendees to treat themselves to tractor-drawn hayrides, a hay maze and the farm's animal barn, as well as shopping at Foster's Harvest Market for local sweet corn and honey, squashes and gourds, apples and apple cider, a selection of gourmet foods and the Halloween gift shop.
"It's so rewarding to see so many of the same people come back, year after year, and to see their families growing up and making memories here," said Foster, who credited her husband and their children, as well as her sister and her own children, with helping get the Fall Pumpkin & Corn Maze Festival underway in time for the start of October. "I also enjoy talking to all the new people I meet each year."
Those who are interested in booking family get-togethers and other events, in one of the two available party rooms of Foster's Vintage Hay Barn, should do so quickly. At a rental fee of $45 for two and a half hours, reservations are priced to sell, and Connie Foster reported that the weekends are starting to fill up already. Call 360-435-6516 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to make reservations, for either the party rooms or for school tours.
Foster's Produce & Corn Maze's annual Fall Pumpkin & Corn Maze Festival runs throughout the month of October, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 1-31. In the evenings, sufficiently brave souls are invited to play in the spooky Night Maze and Giant Pumpkin Hunt from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 and 26, although they should bring flashlights. The social bonfire is designed to keep people warm, and the Harvest Market will be open to serve espresso, hot cocoa and pies.
Foster's Produce & Corn Maze is located at 5818 State Route 530 NE in Arlington. For further details, log onto www.fosterscornmaze.com.