While corn mazes are popular in the Willamette Valley, Wallowa County is creating its own version starting this week.
The county's first hay maze plans to be open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 16 through Oct. 30. The Halloween-oriented event will be held at the Tamkaliks grounds in Wallowa and sponsored by Wolfe Ranch, the Backwoods Saloon and Yesterday's Dining House.
Ten semitruck loads of straw, or 427 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 6 ft. bales, were delivered on the site early this week and arranged into a 6 ft. high maze which should take adventurers an estimated 20 to 30 minutes to traverse. The straw jungle was designed by Justin Burns and constructed by Steve Wolfe's farm crew.
The maze will be the biggest draw of a family-oriented excursion which will include a tractor drawn wagon ride across the Tamkaliks grounds where children and adults will be afforded the opportunity to pick out their Halloween pumpkin.
A $2 donation is recommended for an opportunity to go through the maze and pumpkins will be sold at 15 cents a pound. The Wallowa Lions Club concession booth will be present to sell food and drinks.
Proceeds beyond expenses will go to Safe Harbors.
Event coordinator Betsy Burns encourages those who wish to venture forth at night to bring flashlights. "It is a great way for a family to spend an evening," she said. There is no age limit for participants and the maze will be wheel chair accessible.
There will be six check points in the interior of the maze and those who have cards punched at all six points will receive free hot cocoa or apple cider.
Participants should be ready to run into a lot of dead ends.
Times that the maze will be open are 5 -10 p.m. on Thursdays; 3 -11 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m.- 11 p.m. Saturdays; and from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sundays.