What has become a local autumn tradition will be revived again soon when Blair’s Fall Harvest and Corn Maze opens on Sept. 11.
The late Bob Blair, a 28-year teacher and administrator in the Bright Local School District, started the tradition of building a maze in a cornfield near his residence and offering other attractions in 2004. When he passed away in November of 2014 jsut after finishing his 11th maze, his family said that there was never a question whether or not they would continue the tradition. Still, they didn’t realize how much time Bob put into it.
For that reason the hours have been trimmed back this year to 2-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sundays.
“It’s so difficult without Bob. He did so many little things we didn’t realize like taking care of the animals or fixing a wheel on the barrel train, or things like that, and there are a lot of things like that that need to be done,” Bob’s wife, Paula, said of her husband, who retired from Bright Local in 1998. “We all work away from home and we have to have someone here we can trust with the children. That was his main thing. He loved the children.”
This year’s maze is partly laid out in the shape of a scarecrow, with several other paths off to a couple sides.
“We think it will be a little more difficult this year; we hope so anyway,” Paula said.
Blair’s Fall Harvest is open now, but the family is only selling mums. When Sept. 11 rolls around there will be a free corn slide, straw maze and petting zoo. The barrel train rides will cost 50 cents this year. Trips through the corn maze are $5 for anyone 14 or older and $3 for those under 14. Paula said they don’t charge for young ones that have to be carried.
There will also be pumpkins, gourds, mums, straw bales, fodder shocks and some autumn-themed craft items for sale.
The corn maze is now made by Bob’s son, Wes, and he does it much like his father did. He decides on a topic he wants to feature, looks up pictures of it, then cuts the maze into a thickly planted six-acre field. The corn is cut when it’s about knee high. So why a scarecrow this year?
“He just thought it was something we hadn’t done before,” Paula said. “He found a picture of a scarecrow he liked and just went with it.”
Blair’s Fall Harvest is located about 10 miles south of Hillsboro on U.S. Route 62.
“We just enjoy the families and we have made some wonderful relationships with other people who have become good friends,” Paula said. “We have had nothing but the nicest and kindest people, and we’re just glad to do it.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.