After 23 years, one business in the Mesilla Valley has grown from one little corn maze made in honor of Las Cruces’ 150th birthday into a yearly institution providing not only a maze but numerous games, activities and pumpkins on October weekends.
Anna Lyles is the mover who leveraged her family’s 2,000-acre farming operation into a place for adventure including not only the corn maze -- this year shaped like the United States –- but all the other things going at 3855 W. Picacho at the edge of Las Cruces.
“Everything is going well,” Lyles said. “Schools are returning. Folks are coming on the weekends. They seem to be glad to have a place to go and get back to normal.”
Area schools are active scheduling weekday visits to the site. There is plenty to do but also plenty to learn, with a hayride to the 20-acre pumpkin patch to choose their own pumpkins as they connect with the agricultural roots of the area.
“Agriculture-based education has been an important part of the operation ever since I started it,” Lyles said. “Farming is our family tradition, and it’s something that every generation should understand and enjoy.”
Although the site is open to the public every weekend, 11 a.m. to7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, they also host special events like the Pumpkin Festival coming up on Oct. 23 and 24.
“The community has been really supportive,” she said. “I have a great crew of people and the weather has cooperated.”
Lyles also said the event has tried to steer away from anything electronic.
“Other than people using their phones to take pictures, there is no reason to have your phone here,” she said. “There is enough to do so you don’t have to play games on your phone.”
Professional musician Ed Montana will be on hand from Amarillo, Texas to play and host the Pumpkin Festival. Las Cruces native and a 2020 American Idol participant, Dzaki Sukarno, will also provide entertainment during the festival.
Montana, who is Lyles’ brother, wrote the theme song/jingle for the festival. Sukarno, 20, went to Centennial High School and is currently a student at New Mexico State University.
Activities include not only the maze but also a giant slide, hayride to the pumpkin patch, playground, photo areas, ring games and the live music.
“Three more weekends and we’re done for another year,” Lyles said.
But, she said, it’s not the kind of thing you decide to build in September. The planning for the next year starts almost immediately. In December, things go into action -- a maze pattern must be chosen, and fields prepared. Summer is for planting and growing.
“While it’s not quite a full-time job to make it happen, it is my focus all year,” she said. “It’s not the kind of thing anyone would do if they didn’t enjoy the final outcome.”
The Mesilla Valley Maze is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every weekend through Oct. 31.
Adult admission is $15, children under 12 are $12, and 2 and under are free. There is a $2 military discount with ID. Visit www.mesillavalleymaze.com
or call 575-536-1919 for more information.