Cowart Ranch and Farms off SR 100 in Bunnell rolls out family fun on weekends through October

Michael Ewing works a lot. It’s a memorable day when he can take time off to relax with his four kids.

On Saturday, grandmother-in-law Joyce Cantrell decided she knew the perfect family getaway.

Heading out to the Cowart Ranch and Farms in Bunnell, the group of seven put aside the cares of the moment to enjoy some old-fashioned family fun during the opening weekend of Maze Dayz in west Bunnell.

Slurping snow cones and other treats after a turn on the jump pad, giant slide, and huge corn box (think sand box with corn instead), there were tractor rides around the sunflower patch, racing ducks, steer roping and a pumpkin patch. The group eventually settled in the pavilion for a rest as Cantrell watched, relaxing in the shade.

“I thought it would be so much fun to bring them to this maze,” said Cantrell. “I’ve heard people in our church talking about it for several years and I decided these children were old enough to come and they’re having a ball. It’s just a wonderful thing for children.” 

Kicking off this year's Maze Dayz events, Brittney Kinney opened the weekend with the traditional “Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness,” offering free entry to children with cancer and their immediate families and providing donations to the Live Like Cameron Foundation for each person wearing gold on Saturday.

Giving back is something Kinney seeks to do through her events and this year's Maze Dayz theme, “Make the World a Better Place,” ties into her community spirit while hopefully also planting the seed in others.

“Throughout the maze, the questions will pertain to making the world a better place,” said Kinney. “Just to kind of get everybody’s mind going in that direction. Sometimes all it takes is just an idea and it’s inspiring to me.”

Taking the opportunity to spread awareness and celebrate her recovery, 10-year-old Kelsey Banks sported gold ribbon earrings and a gold T-shirt as she played with her family. Her mother, Kerri, is grateful for every moment, knowing some children with cancer do not have the same positive outcome her daughter has had so far.

“We knew that a lot of the families that we’ve met are unfortunately not able to be out here, so we honor their memory,” said Kerri Banks. “We want to make a change, any way possible.”

Maze Dayz leads up to opening of the highly anticipated "Fields of Fear" on Oct. 19, which Kinney says is not for the faint of heart — or anyone younger than 10. The "Fields" feature a walking maze haunted by scarecrows and classic villains, a ghost-and-ghoul hayride, and the "terrifying trail" with creepy clowns.

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If you go

WHAT: Maze Dayz Fall Festival & Fields of Fear

WHERE: Cowart Ranch and Farms, 8185 W. State Road 100, Bunnell

WHEN: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 12; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 13; 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Oct. 14; Oct. 19–Nov. 4 Maze Dayz (any age) and Fields of Fear (10 and older only), 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Fri (FF only); 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat. (MD) and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. (FF); 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday (MD)

WHY: Jump pad, giant slide, corn box (think sand box with corn instead), tractor rides around the sunflower patch, racing ducks, steer roping, a pumpkin patch, a maze with clues, and more.

COST: $10; children under 3 free

DETAILS: 386-437-0750; cowartranchandfarms.com