Mike’s Maze reminds people to vote

The Recorder, August 24, 2020.By MARY BYRNE, Staff Writer

SUNDERLAND — The creative team at Mike’s Maze hopes to remind people this year of their constitutional right to vote.

“Every year, we try to come up with something that’s going to be timely and is going to have some larger cultural meaning for people,” Jess Wissemann, a member of the creative team at Mike’s Maze, said of their recently announced maze design. “ And this year, we decided pretty early on that we wanted to do something about

Etched into 8 acres of corn for this year’s Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm on South Main Street is the word “VOTE,” inscribed in a lettering style reminiscent of the women’s suffrage era.

The maze is scheduled to open Sept. 11.

With 2020 marking the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited racial discrimination in voting, Jess and David Wissemann wanted to remind the community those rights can’t be taken away.

“I think it feels more important than ever to have that spelled out in eight acres of corn,” Jess Wissemann said, acknowledging the “very tense” presidential election coming up this November.

She said she hopes the message of this year’s corn maze inspires people to exercise their right to vote.

“We want people to feel hopeful about the future, and that’s what voting is all about,” she explained. “You can feel hopeful about the future that you want.”

The election theme extends into the activities that will be available to guests of the maze. In addition to the maze “campaign trails,” activities will include an “election landslide” (the children’s slide), pedal cart races on the “presidential election racetrack,” and the “pundit potato cannon range.”

New this year is an interactive voting game, David Wissemann said. Throughout the maze are opportunities for participants to “cast their vote” using marbles on numerous election-related questions. Those questions include whether election day should be a national holiday, and whether people should be automatically registered to vote.

“The way you win the game is to lose all your marbles and cast all your votes,” he said.

The marbles will be collected regularly — either at the end of the day or the weekend — to be sanitized for their next use, he noted. The same is true for all high-touch surface areas, to ensure a safe environment for both guests and employees.

To limit the number of people on site and to allow for social distancing, guests will be required to purchase a ticket and time-slot in advance, Jess Wissemann said.

With the exception of opening weekend, the maze will be open four days this year — from Thursday to Sunday — rather than its usual two days per week. “Anyone who wants to come will still have a chance to come,” Jess Wissemann said.

Masks will be required of all guests and employees, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the maze, particularly in high-touch surface areas, she said. The minimum of six feet of social distance between parties will also be enforced.

“We really need people to take it seriously,” she said. “And as long as people take it seriously and cooperate with our rules, we think it will be a very safe experience.”

Jess Wissemann said the team is excited to offer a safe activity, one that easily lends itself to social distancing, to the community in September.

“We’re excited to be able to open this fall,” she said. “And we’re really excited to share (the maze) with people.”

Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, students and active members of the military, and $$12 for children. Tickets can be purchased online at Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne