Mazed and confused

Spencers find success turning farm
into tourist attraction

Corn maze has become an annual hit with fall visitors

By Chrissy Stewart
Contributing Writer

LEXINGTON, Ind. (October 2004) – A PBS special, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a 73-acre farm was all it took for Charlie and Betty Spencer to begin plans to create a fall attraction. Now in its fourth year of operation, Spencer’s Corn Maze promises to be even bigger and better than before. It opened for the 2004 season on Sept. 18 and will remain open through October.

Spencer Family

Photo by Chrissy Stewart

From left in front, Charlie and Betty
Spencer, with (back row from left) their
son, Chuck, and nephew, Casey.

The Spencers grew corn and soybeans on their Lexington, Ind., farm for nine years before they saw a PBS documentary about the rising popularity of corn mazes. Soon afterward, they began researching how to open and operate their own maze. They spoke to other area farmers who had already ventured into the business. In no time, they knew this was something they should and could do.
Four years later, they are still adding to the attraction, adopting the motto, “Bigger is better.”
They take pride in providing a “clean family atmosphere” to locals and visitors alike. “People discover us when they’re looking for something to do around Madison,” said Betty, who also maintains a full-time job at Hanover College.
Mazes attract visitors for varying reasons, noted Betty. Some enjoy racing through the maze, while others like to search for hidden objects. Since many customers return year after year, the Spencers make sure to change the layout every year. This year, the maze encompasses about seven acres of land, she said.
Hannah Shaffer, 6, was one of the young maze-goers on opening day who was impressed with the winding rows of corn. Emerging from the towering stalks, she said, “I thought we’d never get out of there.”
The Spencers’ 17-year-old son, Chuck, and 20-year-old nephew, Casey, play a big part in running the maze, since Charlie also works at the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. power plant full time. Charlie and the young men choose the design of the maze and cut it.

Family lost in Spencers Corn Maze

Photo by Chrissy Stewart

A family explores
the maze.

Last season, the younger men took over a large portion of the daily operations as well, allowing Charlie to pursue his other hobby of playing his banjo in the local bluegrass band Glory Bound.
Hoosier hospitality is overflowing at the Spencer farm. Visitors receive unlimited trips through the maze as well as extras, such as a hayride, bonfire and a chance to chat with Charlie and Betty. “Big Red,” the pony, and “Chigger,” the dog, also anxiously await the arrival of their annual visitors. Hot dogs, soft drinks and water are available for sale. And, of course, no fall visit to a farm would be complete without bringing home a pumpkin or two. Pumpkins of all sizes can be purchased for only $1 apiece.
A variety of groups take advantage of the popular seasonal activity. The Spencers play host to groups, such as family reunions, birthday parties and church youth groups. Groups receive special rates and can be accommodated any night of the week upon request. A covered picnic area is also on site for the groups’ convenience.
Hours of operation are 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays; noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. For added holiday enchantment, the Spencer ghouls and goblins haunt the maze every Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The maze is open rain or shine, and flashlights are provided on haunted nights.
Admission prices are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children under 10. Children under 2 are free. The maze is located three miles west of Hanover on Hwy. 56. Group rate $4.

• For more information, visit: www.spencersmaze.netfirms.com.

Back to October 2004 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta