HORNICK, Iowa (KCAU) — It’s hard to drive through Siouxland without passing a cornfield or two, but near Hornick, there’s one that’s not your average cornfield.
It might not feel like Autumn just yet, but one family in Hornick has been planning some Fall family fun for months now hoping to give Siouxlanders more local options.
“We wanted to compliment those, create another venue for families to come out, enjoy themselves and be together during Iowa’s most wonderful time of the year,” said Michael Gallagher, corn maze designer.
While pumpkins, hayrides, and corn mazes are generally part of the equation, the Gallaghers decided to level up.
“We designed our maze in [Microsoft] Paint. We took different clip art images and put them together and then started connecting them, making them into a maze. Michael has a multi-hybrid planter through precision planting,” said corn maze designer, Maria Gallagher. “So, we took that image, and we put it into the software that runs the planter. Then, we planted it in two different directions and it literally shuts of a path. So we had a maze outline and then we took that maze outline, and used a skid-loader with a tiller on the front and went through everything to make it nice and sqaure and even.”
“When people think of a corn maze, there’s not a corn maze quite this [level of] extreme or detail around this area. So you say, ‘Corn maze,’ and then you actually show a picture and it’s like, ‘Oh! That’s a really sweet corn maze!’ So I think that’s been the reaction of a lot of people,” said Maria.
The Gallaghers love for mazes of maize go as far back as their relationship does.
“Part of the passion came out of our joy of going through corn mazes as we were in our college years. We’d love going with different friends and go through different corn mazes. We enjoyed it, we want others to experience the same thing,” said Michael.
But if wandering through the farm scene isn’t your thing, the Gallaghers have you covered.
“We have a couple different options for younger children where they can enjoy themselves in a farm yard playground area,” Michael said.
“The other option for the little kids is what we’re calling ‘Corn Kernel Beach,’ basically a big sandbox of corn. Our kids have already been testing it out,” Maria said.
And this new endeavor on the hill overlooking Holly Springs is thriving, despite growing during a severe drought.
“It’s another thing to be able to grow something on a hill in one of the driest years. We were able to spend some time on an irrigation system for our pumpkins early on. Which was like, ‘Why are we doing this?!’ It didn’t take a month and we knew ‘Oh this is a good thing that we did this,'” said Michael. “Insects are so much harder in the drought years. And so, we just battled and battled the insects in our maze and just trying to keep them out in an organic way and in the pumpkins. Beetles that love to be on pumpkins but are really hard on pumpkins.”
And thankfully, the family works well as a team, despite the challenges of starting a new business.
“We work together really well, we really do, and we compliment each other really well because if it was up to me, I would have tried to do 10 more things and it would have propbably been a zoo and it would have never gotten done and she’s always pulling me back, like, ‘Not yet, not yet, we’ll get to that,” said Michael.
And their children, even helping, as much as they could.
“They were out here helping us with their hoes and pulling weeds,” said Maria. “We could not have done it without the help of friends and family because there have been a lot of hours poured in here, besides ours, so that obviously makes a big difference. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
“It’s fun to be a brand new business in a rural area, not too far out of the city,” said Michael.
The Gallaghers said there is no age limit, but be prepared to stay awhile since the maze was grown on roughly nine acres of land.
“It’s a nice size maze, it’s gonna take you at least a half an hour to walk through if you were trying to race your friend and trying to beat them. It might take you an hour if you choose to push the stroller through, which we would encourage you to. It’s all stroller friendly paths and we’d love to see the whole family be able to venture through some of it, if not all of it,” said Michael. “We hope you come out and enjoy it, grow with us in the coming years. Experience it and enjoy your time as a family. Take pictures, and bring the passion of farming to your family like it is to ours.”
For Siouxlanders who do visit the farm, there is a photo contest. The owners said to snap your best picture with the family at the farm and submit it to the Holly View Acres website for a chance to win a prize.
There will also be a grand opening with a food truck set for September 17.