Mike’s Maze commemorating corn-erstone of ’60s counterculture: Woodstock

  • Jess Wissemann, part of the creative team at Mike’s Maze in Sunderland, wears her Janis Joplin glasses while dressed in a fringe jacket. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • A sign with lyrics to the Jimi Hendrix song “Purple Haze” at Mike’s Maze in Sunderland. The maze this year pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival, where Hendrix was the closing act. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Mike’s corn maze design pays tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Children at Mike’s Maze in Sunderland. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • The popular potato cannons at Mike’s Maze in Sunderland. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Saturday, September 28, 2019

SUNDERLAND — Janis Joplin’s eyeglasses are perhaps as iconic as the ones Buddy Holly famously wore.

And while Holly’s spectacles can be seen at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, Florida until Nov. 3, Joplin’s will help transport visitors of Mike’s Maze in Sunderland to a groovier time, when some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll came together for three days of peace and music.

This year, Mike’s Maze at Warner Farm, 23 South Main St., pays tribute to the famous Woodstock music festival 50 years ago. The festival, held on part of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York is hailed as a defining moment of the counterculture movement of the 1960s. And Jess and David Wissemann, the creative team at Mike’s Maze, couldn’t imagine a more appropriate theme.

“Most years we are kind of stressing up until the last possible minute (to decide on a theme),” Jess Wissemann said. “But, this particular year we’ve been planning for it for probably four or five years.

“It’s been sort of brewing for a while,” she added. “I really love the music and I love that era.”

The 8-acre corn maze’s design includes the faces the Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, who both performed at Woodstock. The entrance to the maze, which opened Sept. 7, is one of the rims to Joplin’s round glasses. Hendrix’s hair is wavy, not unlike pirate Blackbeard’s flowing beard in last year’s maze, and ascends to the word “Cornstock,” with the second “o” replaced with a peace sign and a bird identical to the one on the festival’s original posters sitting atop the word.

Jess Wissemann said she chose Joplin and Hendrix because they are likely the two most recognizable and representative faces of the artists that performed at Woodstock. Her designs start out on paper and eventually get digitally scanned and tweaked.

This is the 20th annual corn maze at Warner Farm, which was established 301 years ago. Mike’s Maze is named after David Wissemann’s father, farm owner Mike Wissemann. The maze designs are carved into the cornfield by Rob Stouffer, of Precision Mazes in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Jess Wissemann said her favorite part of this year’s maze is what’s inside. She explained there is a 20-question trivia game geared toward Woodstock and 1969, Mike’s Music Garden with eight musical instruments created from items around the farm, the popular potato cannons, food and drink available for purchase at the Corn Cafe, and more.

For those ages 21 and older, there will also be local breweries hosted inside the maze for beer and cider tasting on Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Tickets can be purchased at squ.re/2l8jIhE.

General admission to Mike’s Maze is $15, with reduced rates for students, senior citizens and children. Children under age 4 are free. More information is available online at mikesmaze.com.​​​​​​