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Milton’s Corn Maze opens for the season


The Herald-Dispatch

MILTON, W.Va. —  Build it, and they will come. And as Kim Cooper has learned, think about it long enough, and pay attention and a great corn maze design will come.

Kim Cooper, whose family is in the 17th year of their Cooper Family Farms Corn Maze that opened up on Saturday, said he was stumped this year for a good design to carve as his 8 1/2-acre maze that sits behind the old Milton Middle School, just off of U.S. 60 in Milton.

Gavyn Lowe, Jaden Adkins, Eli Lawless and Haylee Vititoe make their path through the field during the opening weekend of the Cooper Family Farms corn maze Sunday in Milton.
(Herald-Dispatch photo by Ryan Fischer)

A veteran family farmer who also happens to be the principal at Milton Elementary, Cooper and his crew have carved out corn paths in the shape of everything from the New River Gorge Bridge and pumpkins to Uncle Sam and even the state of West Virginia. This year, the idea vault was empty.

They have now.

While the United States Navy is currently building a $498 million ship that will be named in honor of Hershel “Woody” Williams, the Cooper Family Farms have also built a little ship, that they also hope can handle a little water if needed.

To pay tribute to Williams, the Ona resident who is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima, the Coopers have cut out their popular corn maze into the shape of the ship. They also cut in the date of February 1945, which was the month of the Battle of Iwo Jima, one of the decisive battles in the Pacific Theater in World War II.

Cooper said it is an honor to recognize the humble hero, who after completing his military service, worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a veterans service representative for 33 years. His Hershel Woody Williams Congressional Medal of Honor Education Foundation Inc. continues to work around the United States in establishing permanent Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in communities throughout the country and provides scholarships to eligible Gold Star Children.

“We have honored a lot of different people and other kinds of organizations and groups, and Woody is probably one of the most deserving people around,” Cooper said. “We can’t honor him with a medal, but we can honor him with a field of corn.”

As one would expect, a corn maze honoring a Marine isn’t the easiest to navigate, and Cooper said this may be one of the toughest mazes they have designed.

“The original Uncle Sam was one of the ones I liked the best, and it was a really tough maze, and then the scarecrow sitting on a tractor – that one had 13 spokes on it. This one is probably one of the toughest mazes we have done,” Cooper said.

Like every family farmer, Cooper has dealt through the years with everything from the derecho and its devastating winds to Mud River floods, droughts and anything else Mother Nature could throw their way. While this year has been a year among years, it isn’t over yet.

“This year is probably the best growing season that we have had for a long, long time, but now I have to worry about the hurricanes that could be coming in,” Cooper said. “From what I understand, we may have not just rain but even some wind to worry about.”

In the meantime, the maze is up and running. Cooper said they have added a new small attraction, a roundbale slide for the kids in their play area, but have decided not to run the zipline attraction that they have run for the past few years that went over the maze. He said they hope to have that back up and running next year.

The farm is on U.S. 60 in Milton, with public parking available behind Milton Middle School. Hours of operation will be 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays, with Monday through Thursday available by reservation only. The maze will be open through Sunday, Oct. 29, and will feature a haunted maze the last two weekends in October. For more information, visit

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