The Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch will host a special walk/run Sunday, Sept. 29, the Scarecrow 5K, in partnership with The Clark Sports Center, as a benefit for the Cooperstown Food Pantry.
The Pernat family has owned the Fly Creek Valley Farm for about 100 years, but opened the corn maze in 2018, as a way to supplement the family's income, Ellen Pernat said.
"It is a family business, my husband's family farm," she said. "Dairy farming is not doing so well, so we needed another way to make money."
Pernat said building the five-acre corn maze has been a "family affair" with every member pitching in, including the younger generation.
"It is a lot of work to do, but we all work together," she said. "We all have own own areas (specialties) of work we take on for it."
After a successful 2018, the maze reopened Saturday, Sept. 14. The community response has been great, Pernat said.
"It has been very positive," she said. "I am not just trying to brag, but I have not heard one negative comment about it."
The maze was a weekend, day-time business last year, but Pernat said they have been encouraged by customers to open for night-time mazes. The first one was Saturday, Sept. 21, and again, the response was positive, she said.
"We were surprised with all the high school kids who came out," she said. "As parents, we often said, we wished there was more for our teenagers to do at night. We didn't know that we would become the thing they could do at night."
Pernat said the next night maze will be Saturday, Oct. 12, just before the full moon known as "the hunter's moon." And on Saturday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 26, the night maze will be "haunted" for Halloween.
Sunday, Sept. 29, the Scarecrow 5K will begin at 1 p.m., with registration starting at noon. The cost is $20 per participant or $15 with a food donation.
"I like to run," Pernat said. "I also work part time at the gym, The Clark Sports Center, and I know what an active running community they have. They host runs all over, so I asked them if they would help us. It has worked out great. They have handled everything, like they do for their other runs, only this one will be around the maze.
"Then we needed to partner with a non-profit, and I thought, 'what better place to help than the food pantry,'" she continued.
And although the maze started as a financial venture, Pernat said it has become a special place for her family and the community for other reasons.
"It is so much fun to sit out there on a Saturday and watch other people have fun with it," she said.
The Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch is at 1316 county Route 26 in Fly Creek. Go to Fly Creek Valley Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch on Facebook for more information.