It's the nature of politics and corn mazes: Come Election Day, the combine will be mowing down the faces of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in an Idaho cornfield.
Until Nov. 3, though, visitors to the Farmstead Corn Maze & Pumpkin Festival can still make their way through the 18-acre labyrinth depicting the 2012 presidential candidates and the words, "Vote With Your Feet." The Farmstead's not the only bipartisan corn maze: The Maize at Milton in Tennessee, Siegel's Cottonwood Pumpkin Farm in Illinois, Cornbelly 's in Utah and the Pumpkin Ranch in Iowa have also devoted acreage to an Obama-Romney faceoff.
The Farmstead will be open later than the usual maze: It normally shuts down right after Halloween, but given the campaign, Lowe decided to stay open through the first weekend in November. Thanks to media attention from the Washington Post to Conde Nast Traveler , attendance at Farmstead, which opened Sept. 21, might just surpass the 20,000-person average that the annual attraction brings in.
"We're just hitting the stride of our season right now," Jim Lowe, who owns and operates the farm with his wife, Hillary, tells Yahoo News. So far, there hasn't been any bickering, grandstanding or filibustering in the stalks. "People are focused on having fun," Lowe says. "It's a healthy opportunity to recognize the political process and the importance that it plays in our society, in a nonhostile environment."
Besides a lot of giggles, Lowe has overheard people use the maze as a civics lesson. "I've heard parents talking to their kids about which candidate they would prefer, and asking them why do you think we should go in that direction"—figuratively speaking.
Lowe doesn't say which candidate people traverse more, but in a maze, differences don't matter as much. "They enjoy the novelty if they're in the necktie or the eyebrow," he explains. More important, he says, are the discussions families are having about voting. "It's a healthy thing for our kids to practice and to see as a patriotic endeavor, and not something that should shied away from."
The Obama-Romney thicket isn't Lowe's first political foray. The 2008 race between Obama and John McCain ranks as his toughest labyrinth. "I had a hard time getting [McCain] going," Lowe admits. "The challenge for me is to portray a face. It's a little difficult to draw in a cornfield and still have it function as a maze. ... But [depicting a face] is one of my favorite things to do."
Come Nov. 4, though, the tractors will come out, the cornfield will be mowed down and the harvest distributed as feed to dairy cows. And no, they will not be separating the Obama stalks from the Romney stalks. "These cows are nonpartisan," Lowe says. "They'll eat everything."
The Farmstead's not the only bipartisan corn maze: The Maize at Milton in Tennessee, Siegel's Cottonwood Pumpkin Farm in Illinois, Cornbelly 's in Utah and the Pumpkin Ranch in Iowa have also devoted acreage to an Obama-Romney faceoff. Click the above picture to scroll through the images.
Watch this video of the Pumpkin Ranch's maze coming to life.
Other tales of political cooperation:
- Most bipartisan state?
- The election season's friendliest videos
- Reaching across the aisle for hors d'oeuvres
- Ball State University students work together to get out the vote