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For those that love labyrinths, there is nothing like the Cool Patch Pumpkins corn maze in Dixon, California. The intricate collection of winding paths, twists, turns and loops that is hand-cut by farm owners and brothers, Matt and Mark Cooley, can disorient even the most experienced "maze runner". This year's creation was particularly bewildering given that the brothers had expanded their already large puzzle into a 60-acre behemoth, a feat that earned them a second Guinness World Record!
The Halloween tradition began in 2003, as a way to attract more visitors to the farm's pumpkin patch. The 15-acre corn maze was so popular that the brothers decided to make it an annual tradition. In 2007, the maze that had increased almost threefold to 43.5 acres, was certified as world's biggest corn maze. Since then, the labyrinths have only become bigger and increasingly sophisticated.
Not surprisingly, they are extremely popular amongst adventure seekers. This year was no exception. Hundreds of families flocked to the Dixon farm from September 20th to November 9th, to test their navigation skills. While most were able to make their way out of intricate puzzle within a few hours, there were some that became so disoriented that they had to be rescued by the local police.
According to Deputy Daryl Snedeker from the Solano County Sheriff's department, the panic was largely a result of people underestimating the amount of time it would take them to get through the maze. However, he too admitted that the labyrinth did result in some anxiety among the poor dispatchers that were sent in to rescue the "maze runners"!
Matt Cooley says that getting visitors disoriented was exactly what he had been aiming for when he sketched this year's intricate design. He thought people should have just relaxed and enjoyed the experience of getting lost - after all, they would all eventually be able to figure their way out.
Though the maze is now closed to visitors, the brothers do plan to recreate it next year. Fortunately, they will not be able to increase its size because they have little room to expand without jeopardizing the surrounding orchards or the equally popular pumpkin patch that features 50 unusual varieties of fruit. That however only means that Mark will work extra hard at creating an even more confusing puzzle in 2015 - so watch out!