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The annual event at the Pumpkin Patch features a challenging 8 acres of fun for the entire family.

COURTESY PHOTO: THE MAIZE AT THE PUMPKIN PATCH - Aerial view of Cinnamon and Sugar at the MAiZE on Sauvie IslandIt's 8 acres of fun and has become a tradition on Sauvie Island.

If you are looking to take your kids on a road trip that's full of challenges, drop by the MAiZE at the Pumpkin Patch.

While it's billed as Portland's original corn maze, it's close enough to Scappoose and St. Helens to make it a regional attraction.

The Pumpkin Patch has over a million pounds of pumpkins in its U-pick pumpkin patch that are accessed via a free hayride.

The farm-themed maze is nearly a quarter-century old, and features the lovable Brahman cows, Cinnamon and Sugar, who are always popular with the little ones.

As a challenge to visitors, the 8-acre design has been split into two halves.

The first half takes you to the popular red and white pole tent, where you can relax and get a quick snack from the Patio Café. Once you rest up, you can get ready for the longer and more challenging second half of the MAiZE.

It takes about 45 minutes to complete the maze. Fortunately, you can be helped along by using custom "Passports," which are a set of 10 questions that you answer at critical decision points throughout your walk. Trivia questions help you navigate through the MAiZE.

Craig Easterly keeps the show moving at the MAiZE, which wraps up on Halloween.

"It's becoming a family tradition — that's the neat thing I'm realizing after 24 years," he said.

So-called agritainment businesses like the Pumpkin Patch have a variety of draws, from fresh produce to farm activities. Agritainment has become big business on Sauvie Island, as well as some other local areas like Helvetia and Scholls in Washington County.

"The MAiZE is just part of the whole farm experience out there," Easterly said. "The Patio Café out there has some really good farm-fare food. Of course, as October rolls in, we start doing free hayrides. You could spend two or three hours out there easily. It's kind of entertainment for the whole family."

Easterly said the MAiZE attracts tourists from as far away as Eugene, Seattle and beyond.

"What I like about it is once everyone enters the corn maze, everybody is kind of on the same level," Easterly said, noting that while adults can sometimes "overthink" the maze, kids just simply go out and explore.

The MAiZE also offers private bonfires for groups to enjoy events such as birthdays.

October hours are Sundays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, hours are from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Free parking is available.

If you would like more information on the MAiZE, including specific hours and prices, visit portlandmaze.com.


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