Votes are in at Mike’s Maze

The Recorder, Septemer 12, 2020, By MARY BYRNE, Staff Writer

SUNDERLAND — Eleven-year-olds Juna Gradick and Vita Briggs-Hendricks of Gill remember learning in school about women’s suffrage, but it still surprised them to read about it again on a post in the middle of Mike’s Maze Friday morning.

“Women only started voting 100 years ago,” Juna said.

“We kind of knew that,” Vita added. “But 100 years is not that long ago.”

Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm on South Street — which opened for the season on Friday with the theme of voting — was as educational as it was fun, the girls said, standing together in a life-size “hamster wheel” they walked in to propel it forward.

“(The maze) was super fun, but it was also kind of hard,” Vita said.

In addition to the voting-themed corn maze — which had signs along the way with facts about voting throughout history — there was a pedal cart “presidential race,” and a “pundit potato canon.”

Attractions also included two giant slides, a small petting zoo and picnic tables for resting or enjoying a snack.

Laurie North of Monson said the topic of voting this year was an “excellent choice.”

“ A lot of people — if they come here and read (the facts) — it’s an education, or a re-education,” she said.

Three alumni of the University of Massachusetts Amherst echoed that sentiment, adding that the subject was timely with the upcoming election in November.

“It’s a learning experience,” said Shyla Davis of Easthampton.

Ludlow resident Daniel Ankiewicz said a lot of the information he read in the maze were either facts he learned in school, or facts he should have learned in school.

“It’s a good refresher course,” he said.

Davis said she enjoyed the interactive element of the “voting stations” throughout the corn maze. Participants were given a small bag of marbles before entering the maze to “cast their vote” on opinion-based, election-related questions, such as whether the government would be better off without political parties, whether voting should be mandatory in the United States or whether all residents should automatically be registered to vote.

“I like that we get to vote,” she said.

Michael Kamlarz of Amherst noted that at one of the stations, he noticed there was a QR-code on the sign, which gave participants the ability to check their voter registration status.

Out of precaution amid the COVID-19 pandemic, masks will be required of all guests and employees, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the maze, particularly in high-touch surface areas, according to organizers. The minimum of 6 feet of distance between parties will also be enforced.

Organizers also said that 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.

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne