Sep. 7—PANDORA — In a low-flying plane above Pandora during the month of September, passengers can look down and see a lion (simba), cheetah (duma), elephant (tembo), rhinoceros (kifaru), giraffe (twiga) and acacia trees, as if they were above the savanna of the East African Serengeti.
Thanks to Suter's pseudo-Swahili guides, visitors can explore what it might feel like to experience an African safari without leaving Ohio. Planned activities are designed so visitors gain a new perspective. Activities make one feel that everything around them is vast and enormous. Traversing a path, surrounded by giant 10-foot-tall stalks of maize, can make you feel like a small animal walking with limited visibility among the tall grasslands. Jogging in a four-foot-wide plastic "hamster wheel" might simulate running from predators.
Additional activities include a hayride, corn cannon prize competition and wagon basketball. Hayrides cost $3 per person. Kids aged two and younger are free.
According to Tom Suter, Suter Produce is a locally sourced and sold produce company. It began with his great-grandfather, Harry Suter, and stayed a family-owned business for four generations. The first Suter corn maze opened in 1999. It was the brainchild of his father, Jerry, who worked for two years as a math teacher at Bluffton High School after completing his college degree before returning to the farm full-time. "He had always been interested in mazes and puzzles, so when he heard about putting mazes in cornfields, it intrigued him," he said.
Each year, the corn maze features a new design. Tom, who selects each year's theme and content, initially drew sketches of the maze by hand. After some advice from his brother Mark Suder, who is a computer science teacher at Elida High School, he switched to using Photoshop. Previous designs spanned world history, including dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, castles, pirates, Native Americans, the Mayflower, American pioneers, the wild west and the first moon landing. Pictures of each year's completed mazes can be viewed on their website suterproduce.com/corn-maze.
In addition to the corn maze and activities for kids, during a visit to the Suter farm, experience fall foods by picking your own pumpkin, eating kettle corn and sipping cider slushies. Before leaving the event, pick up a dozen of their freshly made donuts along with a gallon of cider to take home. Their cider is pressed several times a week and the store is open Monday through Friday 1-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday 1-7 p.m. The retail cider price is $7.95 (gallon) and $5 (half-gallon).
The corn maze, located at 4678 Road R in Pandora, opens Saturday, Sept. 10 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 30. Open only on weekends, the hours are Saturdays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sundays from 1-7 p.m. It takes about one hour to complete the maze. Therefore, admission closes at 6 p.m. each evening. Maze admission costs $6 per adult and $5 for students through college age. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance to the corn maze. Group rates for 20 or more people are a dollar off per person but must be purchased in advance by calling 419-384-3331.
Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.