Mike’s Maze inspired by John and Yoko’s ‘Imagine’ 

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    Celebrating 50 years of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's song "Imagine," Mike's Maze is using that to celebrate imagination in all forms. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2021 4:43:03 PM

SUNDERLAND – Imagine all the people walking through a corn maze.

The theme of Mike’s Maze this fall is imagination “in all its forms” with inspiration coming from the 50th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1971 song “Imagine.”

Jess Wissemann, the maze’s creative director, said this year’s theme came from the need for some positivity in the world after a difficult year due to the panemic.

“This year was obviously one heck of a year,” Wissemann said in a phone interview. “We really wanted to do a maze theme that had a positive feeling and something that could just brighten people’s outlook on life.”

The word “Imagine” is etched into 8 acres of corn with some letters magnified as John Lennon’s wire-rimmed glasses creep into the frame. Wissemann said the song’s theme of “hopefulness” inspired her and she hopes to share that with the maze’s visitors.

“This idea, that the first step to creating a better world is imagining it, visualizing it and I just felt that was the theme we needed this year,” Wissemann said. “I wanted the maze to look as though we were peeking through John Lennon’s glasses at the word ‘imagine.’”

The maze is scheduled to open Sept. 10 and will close Nov. 7.

The celebration of imagination goes beyond the maze’s design. There are 20 stations in and around the maze that challenge visitors of all ages to tap into their creative juices.

“We really wanted to approach imagination from every angle you could,” Wissemann said. “It’s really sort of mind opening and we’re really hoping that it will be super inspiring for kids and that it will take adult to a more child-like state.”

Each station has its own particular theme celebrating art and creativity in all forms. Wissemann highlighted an activity inspired by Eric Carle, the celebrated Northampton children’s book author who died in May.

She said the station features art from Carle’s book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?” and asks visitors to describe the colors shown to someone who can’t see.

“It’s more of an exercise about what does color feel like, what does color taste like, how do we experience this and how do you communicate that in a creative way to someone else,” Wissemann said. “I think it will be really interesting to compare how adults and children experience the game.”

Unvaccinated guests are required to wear a mask at all times while on the premises. Social distancing among guests is encouraged and all Mike’s Maze staff will be wearing masks. Hand sanitizer will be readily available for all guests and high-touch areas will be cleaned on a regular basis.

Wissemann said the pandemic is “an evolving situation” and they will be paying close attention to state guidelines. She added the maze can get busy, but it is outdoors and she hopes people will “use their good sense” when it comes to masking and social distancing.

For families who want to avoid the biggest crowds of the year, Wissemann said they should plan a trip to the maze earlier in the season.

“It’s a little-known secret, Mike’s Maze is awesome in September,” she said. “Everyone comes in October. I would really love to see more people come out in September and enjoy it when there’s less crowds.”

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for kids age 5 to 12, students, seniors and active members of the military; all children 4 years and younger are free. Online tickets will be available soon or they can be purchased at the admissions booth.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.

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