Local farm delays corn maze opening due to drought

- This summer's drought and high temperatures have delayed the opening of a local family pastime.

"Behind me is the 7 acre corn maze. Normally this weekend we would open up and welcome a lot of people to find their way for 2 1/2 miles of trail, get lost for a couple of hours, and have a great time. Little bit different this year," said Jeff Fissel, executive director of Historic Rural Hill Farm in Huntersville.

Rural Hill used to belong to the Davidson family, now it's a nonprofit that runs on a tight budget.

"This is the biggest fundraiser we do all year. Taking in the reduced schedule and the time we won't be doing the maze, the maze normally would raise $150,000 dollars for the farm. That's a big chunk of our annual budget," said Fissel.

With little rain hitting the ground and lots of heat coming from the sun, the corn stocks are a lot shorter than normal this year.

"We talk with a lot of farmers in the area and everyone is dealing with the same problem. If you're growing corn for a crop, a lot of these stalks are too small to produce ears, so you're not getting the crop you would expect. Farmers all over the area are suffering. And it goes beyond corn. Hay, soybean, everything that you're growing is suffering from the lack of rain and the heat," said Fissel.

And like other area farmers, they have to find new ways to make a profit.

"We're going to look at maybe in October to do a fall festival if we can pull all the pieces together. We still have our dog trials this fall. We're going to find ways to raise some funds," said Fissel.

Once October rolls around, the farm hopes the maze will be ready for little feet to get in their fall fun.

Last year, 30,000 people visited the maze. The new opening date of October 3rd and it'll run through November 1st.

Other events at the farm are still moving forward, like the "Great Pumpkin Run" which happens Saturday morning.

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