It’s the perfect time of the year to take a joyride through the countryside, where you’re bound to discover hay wagons sitting along roadsides filled with beautifully shaped pumpkins and brightly colored gourds for sale. However, if you truly want to enjoy the season, I’d like to recommend a trip to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm, where the Coleman family specializes in growing a-maze-ing fun!
It was back in 1993 that Don Frantz, owner of the American Maze Company, and maze mastermind Adrian Fisher collaborated to turn fields of maize into giant mazes. At that time, Jack and Donna Coleman and their children were working their dairy farm in Paradise Township. When Jack saw an article about a corn maze in Annville, he and Donna decided to dedicate some acreage on their farm to this growing “agri-tainment” concept.
Working with the American Maze Company, the Colemans opened their first A-maze-ing Maize Maze on August 1, 1996. During that first season, more than 27,000 people visited the farm. The Colemans instantly knew they had something special, and the fun kept growing.
I remember my first visit to Cherry Crest back in 1998 when there was only a handful of activities and stands to complement the maze. Since then, this destination has expanded to include more than 50 different activities spread across 15 acres of the family farm. Now, in addition to the maze, you’ll find an entire spread of activities, food and performances. The newest attraction is a village called Sproutsville.
One of my favorite activities is the Giant Slinger, which consists of a row of giant slingshots used to shoot tennis balls at targets on the hillside. And, don’t miss the Round Bale Racers, which entail giant tubes you climb into and race down the track.
While I could easily enjoy a trip to Cherry Crest by myself, there’s even more to do for younger visitors, including the Hay Chute Slides, Straw Bale Racer, Straw Bale Tunnels, Barnyard Jump, Lil Cabin Builders, Discovery Barn and so much more. When I ask my kids what they are most excited to see, of course, it’s always the Baby Chick Hatchery.
October is prime time to visit. If you plan to go in the evening, you can rent a campfire site. Also, be sure to bring a flashlight to make your way through the maze – this year’s theme is Board Game Madness – in the dark on Friday and Saturday evenings. Also, be sure to mark your calendars for this year’s fireworks displays on October 6 and November 3.
The season closes out with the Pumpkin Madness festival on November 3. Bring your leftover Halloween pumpkins or grab a few from the farm and discover just how many ways there are to smash a pumpkin.
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is located at 150 Cherry Crest Road in Ronks. For more information on hours, admissions and the available events and activities, visit cherrycrestfarm.com. Want to arrive in style? Be sure to check the train schedule at strasburgrailroad.com.