Duke Wheeler has been inspired by an Alaska politician, a minor league hockey team, the life cycle of the butterfly, and now the success of American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox.
The 25-year-old single mom from Elliston, Ohio, is the theme for this year's Corn Maze at the Butterfly House, 11455 Obee Rd., Whitehouse, which features four distinctive Bowersox-inspired mazes, including a winding trail through much of the singer's head.
“It seems like she has really made Toledo excited,” said Wheeler, Corn Maze at the Butterfly House co-owner with his wife Martha. “I think we can all see ourselves in Crystal. I'm not a musical person, but boy, when she was on stage, it made you feel good. And when you hear her story and how she's doing, you want to support her.”
The idea for this year's maze originated with his daughter, Christy, in May, during Bowersox's Idol run. Wheeler took her suggestion to an artist, who drew up the themed trails. His design, which includes Bowersox's name, her acoustic guitar, and flowers, was plugged into a global positioning system and later cut into a cornfield in a process that took 12 to 14 hours during Fourth of July weekend.
There are 16 acres of mazes spread out among the four designs and skill levels, ranging from 0.7 miles for beginners to 3 miles for experts.
As proud as Wheeler is of the maze, he's especially pleased that it has the blessings of Bowersox. Though a busy recording schedule will keep her from visiting, she's encouraging others to go for her instead.
“I told my Ohio friends to go to the corn maze and to take a picture of me and tell me ‘I was in your head,' ” Bowersox said from her home in Los Angeles. “Everyone who goes, take a picture and tweet it to me and I'll collect it.
“I definitely won't have the time to go there, but I appreciate the love and the idea of it.”
Contact Kirk Baird firstname.lastname@example.org 419-724-6734.
Here's a rundown of corn mazes in the area this year:
• The Corn Maze at the Butterfly House, 11455 Obee Rd., Whitehouse. Size: 16 acres. Hours: 3 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. Wednesdays by appointment. Open through Oct. 31. Cost: $8 adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older and children ages 6 to 9 with adult, free for children ages 5 and younger with adult. Group rates available. Design: Crystal Bowersox. Information: 419-877-2733 or whitehousecornmaze.com.
• Country Lane Tree Farm's corn maze and haunted tree maze, 3525 North Bolander Rd., Genoa, Ohio. Size: 18 acres. Hours: 4 p.m. to dark Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to dark Saturday and Sunday. Open Sept. 25 through Oct. 31. Cost: $5 for the maze, free for children ages 5 and younger and active military personnel with ID. Haunted tree maze and the Twilight Trail of Terror on Saturdays in October only, $5. Combination tickets and group rates available. Design: Twilight Eclipse: Team Edward and Team Jacob. Information: 419-461-1298 or countrylanetreefarm.com.
• Crots' Corn Maze, 4800 West Temperance Rd. near Lambertville. Size: 40 acres. Hours: 11 a.m. to dark Saturday and 1 p.m. to dark Sunday. Open Saturday through Oct. 31. Cost: $6.50 adults, $5.50 children ages 5 to 15, and free for kids younger than 5. Group rates available. Design: fruits. Information: 734-856-7183 or cornmaze.itgo.com.
• Farmer Charley's Maze Adventures, 6421 North Stony Creek Rd., Monroe. Size: 14 acres for three corn mazes, and a five-acre courtyard. Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Open through Oct. 31. Cost: $10 adults, $8 seniors, free for children 3 and younger. Thursdays are half price from 4 to 6 p.m. with a canned food donation. Kids ages 4 to 11 are half price from noon to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Group rates available. Design: Ohio State University vs. University of Michigan. Information: 734-240-0825 or farmercharleys.com.
• Farmer J's World Record Corn Maze, Pherdon Road behind Cabela's in Dundee, Mich. Size: 47.8 acres for five mazes. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Open through Oct. 31. Cost: $10 adults, $5 children ages 6 to 11, and free for kids 5 and younger. Group rates available. Design: “We the People,” symbols of patriotism. Information: 734-216-6230 or www.worldrecordcornmaze.org.
• Fleitz Pumpkin Farm Corn Maze , 7133 Seaman Rd., Oregon. Size: five-acre maze and one-acre maze. Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Open Saturday through Oct. 31. Cost: $2 for 5-acre maze, $1 for 1-acre maze. Design: general maze. Information: 419-836-7613 or fleitzpumpkinfarm.com.
• Fun Acres Corn Maze and Family Fun Farm, 11665 Haggerman, South Rockwood, Mich. Size: 10 acres for two mazes. Hours: 11 a.m. to dusk Saturday and Sunday. Woods of Darkness, a walk through the haunted woods, begins Oct. 1. Hours: 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Open through Oct. 31. Cost: $6 for ages 4 and older, free for kids 3 and younger. Combination tickets for hayrides and group rates available. Design: The Great Pumpkin. Information: 734-934-6532 or funacrescornmaze.com.
• Leaders Farms and ScreamAcres haunted attractions, Henry County Road 16, Napoleon, Ohio. Size: seven acres. Hours: 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Open Sept. 24 through Oct. 31. Cost: $8 adults, $6 children ages 5 to 11, free for kids 4 and younger. ScreamAcres is $12 for everyone. $16 for Pandemonium/ScreamAcres combo ticket. Combination tickets and group rates available. Design: farmyard. Information: 419-599-1570 or leadersfarms.com.
• Riehm Barnyard Fun and Corn Maze, 7244 North State Rt. 53, between Tiffin and Fremont. Size: five acres. Hours: 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Weekdays by appointment. Open Saturday through Oct. 31. Cost: $7 for maze and activities, free for kids younger than 2. Group rates available. Design: Bob Evans. Information: 419-992-4392 or funacres.net.
• Suter's Corn Maze, two miles south of Pandora, Ohio, at 8251 County Road R in Putnam County. Size: eight acres. Hours: 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Open Saturday through Oct. 31. Cost: $6 adults, $4.50 students from kindergarten to college, and free for those younger. Group rates available. Design: under the sea. Information: 419-384-3331 or suterproduce.com.
• Talladay Farms corn maze, 6270 Judd Rd., Milan, Mich. Size: 26 acres. Hours: 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Open through Oct. 31. Cost: $6 adults, $5 children ages 5 to 11, free for children age 4 or younger. Haunted maze runs Friday and Saturday beginning Oct. 1. $6, or both mazes for $10. Same times. Group rates available. Design: Construction equipment theme. Information: 734-645-1791 or talladayfarms.com.
• Uncle Sam's Corn Maze, 6263 Sterns Rd., Ottawa Lake, Mich. Size: 26 acres for three mazes. Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Last ticket sold two hours before closing. Open through Oct. 31. Cost: $8 for adults, $5 children ages 5 to 11, and free for kids 4 and younger. Group rates available. Design: Frankenstein and Halloween items. Information: 734-854-3752.