CARIBOU, Maine — Each year, Mark Goughan designs a new theme for his popular corn maze. One year it was a moose theme, another Spuddy, the Maine Potato Board mascot. In 2009, he highlighted the culture, crops and history of Aroostook County with a maze shaped like the region.
This year, however, Goughan decided to set his sights on colleges and universities, resulting in a maze designed around the black bear mascot for the University of Maine.
“I wanted to do a tribute to higher education this year,” Goughan said Wednesday evening. “Our motto this year is ‘a path to higher education,’ which is reflected a great deal in the maze.”
The UMaine black bear is directly in the center of the maze, and paths branch out from it. Designed by Goughan and his wife, Gloria, the maze took 80 hours to etch into six acres of corn on the family-run farm on Route 161.
The couple got permission from the university to use its logo. There are several games in the maze in which you have to find the seven University of Maine campuses and the seven Maine Community College System campuses. You also have to locate “Farmer Mark’s school supplies.”
Creating the maze also was made more difficult by all the rain The County received this year, he said Wednesday.
“It was awful, but we managed to do it,” he said.
The second challenge was getting an airplane to fly over the corn field and take a picture of the maze. Because pilots did not want to fly in the numerous thunderstorms this summer, Goughan had a hard time getting a snapshot to show the public.
Despite the weather, the past two weekends that the maze has been open have been “outstanding,” he said. “It really has been unbelievable. These past two weekends we’ve just been jammed. We’ve had people lined up in the rain to take a walk through it.”
It takes between a half-hour or 45 minutes to get through the maze, according to Goughan. Visitors who want to play every game will be in the maze a lot longer.
Mark and Gloria Goughan started the farm in 1976 and grow all kinds of crops, including potatoes and strawberries. Hayrides, pumpkin patch treks and other seasonal events also are popular, as well as the farm’s homemade ice cream.
The maze is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day until Oct. 31. Visitors who win a game get a free ice cream cone. The cost is $7 per person and children under 5 get in free.