By Jason A. Smith
One of the men behind a popular fall tradition in Henry County says he is looking forward to sharing his love of agriculture with the community in Henry County.
Southern Belle Farm, at 1658 Turner Church Rd., McDonough, will unveil its third annual Corn Maize to the public next month. Tours of the 7-acre structure will be given, and visitors will also have an opportunity to partake in hay rides, a pumpkin patch and several other activities.
Jake Carter, 27, owns the farm and is part of the fifth generation of his family to work the land at Southern Belle. He and his father, Jimmy, came up with the idea of opening up the property for tours.
Carter says the 7-acre Maize (maze) provides a way for people to learn about farming, in a family-oriented way, which carries appeal regardless of age. "A lot of people who come out have never been on a farm," he added. "Younger people come out full of energy, and for older people, it takes them back to a simpler time and place."
He says the Maize has been a hit with local residents each year since its inception. More than 13,000 people visited the structure last year, which featured the likeness of a large Holstein cow.
This year's Maize, which Jake Carter designed, depicts the face of Larry Munson, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the University of Georgia Bulldogs' football team. According to Ansley Glenn, who conducts marketing efforts for the farm, such a strategy allows Carter to tap into another of his passions. "The Carter family are big UGA fans," says Glenn. "They wanted to honor [Munson's] dedication as the legendary voice of the team."
Formed by The Maize Company, which is based in Utah, the Maize will be accompanied by a number of new features next month. Kids will be able to take a spin on the farm grounds, in one of several pedal-carts, or manually-run go-carts.
Pygmy goats, pig races, a corn cannon, a dairy barn and a pumpkin patch are also among the scheduled attractions.
Each weekend through October, the farm will also feature a number of themes and discounts for those in attendance. The farm will hold Bluegrass concerts Oct. 18, and a Military Appreciation Day a week later. Southern Belle Farm regularly hosts a number of educational events throughout the year.
Admission to the Corn Maize is $12 for ages 9 and up, and $10 for children ages 5-9. Children, aged 4 and under, will be admitted at no charge.
The Maize will open Sept. 19, and will be available for touring Fridays, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m., to 10 p.m. Hours of operation will be extended in October, to include Sundays, 1-6 p.m.
For more information, visit www.SouthernBelleFarm.com, or call (770) 898-0999.