Remember that line in Field of Dreams when "Shoeless" Joe Jackson asks Ray Kinsella, “Is this Heaven?” That’s what flashes in my mind as I step out of my car at the 7th annual Fox Squirrel Corn Maze on the Single R Ranch in Plant City, Florida, about 30 minutes east of Tampa. Hints of mesquite from a barbecue fire waft in a cool breeze that sways the corn field in front of me. I hear children laughing and music in the distance and I feel strangely settled, like I just walked into my own fantasy backyard. It is indeed a thin slice of heaven.
Folks at the ticket booth welcome me with a warm southern drawl. Behind them, under a canopy of huge oak trees, lies a grassy area speckled with exhibit tents and picnic tables bordered by a pumpkin patch and that Iowa-like field of corn. A bluegrass band picks away and sings in harmony and it feels like I've come home.
When the owners give me permission to launch my drone for an aerial shot I half expect to see a baseball field in the middle of it all. I’m not disappointed when there’s no diamond, but thrilled at the design of the maze which includes the State of Florida and several other graphics cut into the corn rows. Maybe they need to add a helicopter ride to the mix. It’s a shame that most people will never see the detail of this “crop circle” type design.
Good food is a part of any hometown celebration. A barbecued pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw, and a fresh ear of grilled and buttered corn on the cob along with some sweet tea are just some of the delish viddles being offered here. Don't forget the kettle corn, lemonade, and baked goods (which are tucked away behind the country store).
I am struck by the simplicity of it all. It's an escape. It's a portal to a simpler time of being outdoors with friends and neighbors enjoying life on life's terms. Everyone is friendly and says hello. There's no political rancor or divisiveness here. There are no demands of emails and schedules and other chaos. Video games are traded in for hayrides, horseback riding, and even pumpkin slinging. It's good people having good fun away from the complexity of everyday city life. Yeah, kind of heaven.
There’s something for just about everyone. Don't forget to check out the arts and crafts vendors as well. (BTW most are cash only and there is no ATM on site) . Be sure to bring your camera and plan to spend a couple of hours exploring. Come on, let go! Eat some food, play some games, and try your hand at navigating the maze. Sit and watch the band or just ponder life under those gorgeous oaks.
Admission: Cash, visa, master card & discover accepted for admission only.
Adults $11 + tax (18 & older), Children $10 + tax (3-17) 2 & under Free. Card Carrying HEROES receive $2 off admission
Fox Squirrel Corn Maze is open October 13th through October 28th Saturday and Sunday’s only. Gates open at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Guests are asked to exit the venue by 6 p.m.