Last time, we talked about preserving and protecting your investment from the beginning of the season until the last guest leaves your gates. For now, we are focusing on your corn maze, but the principle applies to every aspect of your venue and to every small part. It’s equally important to make sure to maintain the camp fire pits just as much as the duck races and the corn cannon. If there is an overall feel of quality and professionalism, you will demonstrate that you care about providing a good experience from start to finish.
The corn maze can be one of the most difficult aspects to maintain because there are so many square feet of hidden areas where no one knows what is happening. It is important to provide some aspect of security, but impossible to watch everything. Many corn mazes have some type of manned watch tower, but it is more for the purpose of lost guests.
We have been lining the corn maze paths at our venues for many years. The netting we use provides a visual barrier as well as a physical barrier and goes a long way to preserving the longevity of the corn and of the overall experience. I talked last week about the disappointment that is felt when you enter a maze to find it easy to navigate because people have created their own paths wherever they felt like traveling. It makes it easier, but most guests don’t really want easier! They go through your maze for the sense of adventure and the opportunity to conquer something. When corn is knocked down and other paths are created, there is a sense that your guests don’t get what they’ve paid for.
Some of our mazes have been very large. In fact, we often have two separate mazes that act in thematic competition to one another. For example, political rivals, sports teams rivals and other character rivals. This means we have acres and acres of netting. This means hours and hours of work for our staff installing and removing, but we feel it is still worth it.
Netting is installed along both sides of your paths and is actually attached to the corn stalks using zip ties. The zip ties allow it to remain almost head level to provide that visual barrier. It is more important that the barrier is higher than lower so if necessary, it can be raised off the ground a bit.
We use what is typically used for sod. It is a white/clear plastic with a mesh pattern. There are several companies that sell industrial netting and we hope to soon offer a recommendation on our website. Most rolls come in four foot widths and can be as long as 5,000 feet. There are some types of netting that are UV protected to allow it to last longer in direct sunlight, but I don’t think that the amount of time it is installed will matter for deterioration from UV so stick with the other stuff.
There is a balance between visibility and blending in. You want it noticeable, but you want your guests to notice the corn more than the barrier. Most netting is subtle so that you can see it up close but it also is disguised when you are enjoying the walk in the corn. When it comes to professionalism and atmosphere, you want to make sure that you are not creating a plastic tunnel!
When it is installed, netting needs to be uniform and tight. We would weave it in and around stalks of corn on the edge of the paths to create a more hidden affect, but also a more secure result. Again, the zip ties are used to keep the netting tight and in place. Use enough to do the job, but remember that they will need to be removed before harvest.
We are working on a netting unrolling device, because this job can be long and tedious. To be able to get the assistance from a machine will make it more feasible for more venues to implement netting in their mazes.
Again, the bottom line again is the preservation of your masterpiece! For most corn maze focused venues, the maze is what attracts the guests. We have used aerial photos in our marketing in an effort to allow the public to marvel at what we’ve created! So when it comes down to it, you want to protect your bottom line and to protect the experience that guests pay to enjoy.
Netting is not the perfect solution for corn maze protection and security, but we believe it is a necessary part of the whole. Thanks for reading and feel free to interact with us about netting!