Timbers MAiZE 2011

Sauvie Island farmer gives annual corn maze tradition a Timbers theme

Starting this weekend, Timbers fans can work their way through five acres of twists and turns at the Timbers-themed cornfield maze crafted by The MAiZE at The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island.

Known in years past for having done themed corn mazes like the Portland Trail Blazers’ logo, a blue heron and several Lewis and Clark-related bicentennial designs, founder of the Portland MAiZE, Craig Easterly, decided to craft this year’s maze into the Timbers logo.

“To be honest with you, I only went to a couple of games when they (the Timbers) weren’t major league and I had a good time,” Easterly said. “I went to four or five games this season and I just got super psyched. I became a fan.

“I knew it would be something that the people of Portland would like and they seem to be really getting into the team. I thought it would be a cool way to sort of expand the excitement.”

The maze opens Saturday, Sept. 3, and continues every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until closing after Halloween.

“I always try to pick a design that kind of resonates with the whole community,” Easterly said.

Production begins on the maze starting with planting in June. With the help of Utah-based maze designer Brett Herbst, Easterly plots the course soon after planting the corn.

“We carved the maze in early July. We plant in late June and actually design the maze when the corn is just out of the ground, just a couple inches tall,” he said.

Easterly expects about 25,000-30,000 visitors split between the Timbers maze and a separate “haunted” maze.

On Sept. 17, Easterly is offering a special “Timbers Day” promotion where anyone wearing Timbers gear will get $2 off of admission. Timber Joey is scheduled to be at the maze from 3-4 p.m., and two Timbers players will be onsite during those same hours signing autographs and going through the maze. Also, fans in attendance can enter to win a team-autographed Timbers flag.

Easterly encourages people not to be intimidated by the prospect of getting lost in the maze. In addition to staff members patrolling the maze to give assistance, visitors will receive some clues to help them navigate the maze.

“We give trivia cards that we call ‘passports’ and if you answer the questions correctly it helps steer you the correct direction in the maze,” Easterly said.

The Pumpkin Patch, which actually opens to the public each June and offers a market, animal barn and gift shop, has been hosting The MAiZE for more than a decade and is located about 15 minutes northwest of Portland on Sauvie Island.

The Timbers MAiZE at The Pumpkin Patch is located at 16511 NW Gillihan Road in Portland and, starting Saturday, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost of admission is $7 for maze-goers 13 and older and just $5 for kids ages 6-12 as well as for seniors 60 and older.