You have to admit, just the title sounds fun! Corn cannons have become one of the most common attractions at all kinds of venues and they have taken on several variations. Corn cannons are a great option to add to your venue and a great addition to your bottom line.
If you are unfamiliar with what they are, corn cannons use compressed air to launch corn or other objects at strategically designed targets. They use a simple cylinder as a firing mechanism to launch ears of dried field corn at a very high rate of speed. The purpose is simple. They provide another form of enjoyment for your guests that can be used to tie together your overall theme. Most venues charge a nominal fee for a few shots. Here are some things to consider with corn cannons.
They require a designated space that allows for a wide variety of targets. They also require a clear background for the inevitable missed shots.
It usually works well to offer a small prize for those who hit a certain target or targets. We often offered food prizes as an incentive to invest in the cannon.
Corn cannons will require a large supply of field corn that needs to be readily available. You will find this to be a popular activity, so you will go through a lot of corn. Not all corn is equal so you will find many pieces that are either too small or too large.
Because of the speed of the corn as it leaves the barrel, safety is key. Here are some tips to consider: a) Your firing zone needs to be very secure from guests accidentally wandering on the range; b) Your cannon needs to be restricted from turning too far to the left or to the right. You will need to use a system to restrict its motion; c) You will need to use a source of compressed air. Many venues use a pull behind air compressor. These need to be out of reach of your guests and secured; d) There needs to be an area for the guest to fire the cannon separate from the general public. This allows you to focus on that guest and not be distracted by those in line.
Corn cannons need to be manned at all times. We all know what happens when we leave things alone and unsupervised. If the area is not being used, it needs to be absolutely disabled. Your guests should not be able to use the cannon or any part of it on their own. It is best to go the extra mile to secure your venue in every aspect!
Corn cannons can be run in conjunction with a night or haunted maze. If you choose to offer it for use at night, it needs to be well lit. If you do not have adequate lighting, I recommend that you keep it closed. Light is necessary for safety and for providing a quality experience. If targets are not easily identified, it isn’t worth operating.
Your targets should reflect your theme. We used football themed targets for our NFL maze, car themed targets for NASCAR, and political targets for the election theme. I suggest that you don’t actually encourage your guests to shoot at certain figures or targets that represent people. Better to give your guests targets that allow them to express their support for one side rather than their disdain for the other! In our election theme we had several opportunities for guests to “cast their vote”. Corn cannon targets can be used as a way to express their support. Football themed targets can use targets with holes or something similar to verify the success of the shooter. Of course knocking something down works too! With our NASCAR theme, we fulfilled our guests’ desire to destroy stuff. Full size cars and trucks make great targets. Just make sure your overall theme is clear in all aspects of your venue.
Keep this area, like all others, neat and clean. This will probably be a regular event from year to year, so make it right the first time! And think about combining this area with things like the apple slingshot and the pumpkin cannon.
Keep this area in view of the general traffic flow and not too far away from the hub of activity. Of course the layout of your property will dictate this also, but you will sell more tickets if you can create a buzz amongst your guests. People will gather to watch and most will be drawn in!
Make it creative and fun. People like a challenge.
Lots to think about with corn cannons, but they have really become a common staple with Agritourism. Maybe it’s time to add one or move on to the next big thing!