Agritainment is on the rise

Many farmers -- who have always been resourceful and astute entrepreneurs - are transforming their farms into entertainment destinations, therein making a quantum leap from the bottom of the progression of economic value of producing commodities to the top by producing experiences.

Progression of Economic Value
(using coffee as an example)

Offering Location Price
commodity grower
goods supermarket $6.00/lb.
services fast food $1.00/cup
experience Starbucks $2.00+/cup

One of the many ways farmers are turning their farms into entertainment destinations is with adventure corn mazes. These are the mega-acre maize mazes you may have read about. Hundreds of these appear throughout North America each fall along with the appearance of the rotund squash - the great pumpkin.

This is a rather recent phenomenon. It wasn't until 1993 that Adrian Fisher and Don Franz produced the first entertainment farm maze in the shape of a dinosaur at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pennsylvania. It was a great success. Since then, corn mazes have grown in size and complexity, with some having double-decker Y-bridges, and have spread into many countries besides the U.S. In 2004, there were about 200 adventure mazes throughout North America.

The first corn maze was 3.3 acres and had 1.92 pathway miles.

There are currently four companies that specialize in designing and helping farmers produce and market their mazes:

Competition stirs up creativity. This year, Don Franz of The Amazing Maize Maze has outdone the other maze design companies, and for that matter, probably the entire family entertainment center industry, by licensing the new animated movie feature, Chicken Little, that Disney is producing for release later this year. Chicken Little adventure corn mazes will be appearing across America this fall. Talk about a licensing coup and a great marketing scheme. Look out, family entertainment center industry! Farms across the world are turning corn into exceptional family destination experiences - the agricultural equivalent of turning lemons into lemonade. And with that they are capturing an increasing share of family leisure time and expenditures.

We feel honored to have among our agritainment clients two of America's most renowned agritainment facilities that include adventure mazes: Davis' Farmland & Davis' MegaMaze in Sterling, Massachusetts, and Cherry-Crest Farms, just outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Davis' agritainment facility has been our longest continuous client, for over 12 years. We just started working with Cherry-Crest Farm on a new master plan and expansion of the operation.

Click here to see the Chicken Little movie trailer:

Additional reading: