Aug 06, 2008 Ami Olson Uncategorized
There is a new summertime treat at Veteran’s Park at Gillie Lake this summer, courtesy of the town of Camillus.
A 2.5 acres maze, carved out of a field of sunflowers, opened Friday at the Sands Road entrance to the park.
Town Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan, said the sunflowers were planted last year by Highway Superintendent Mark Pigula. He rents the land from the town, and plants sunflowers and corn alternately in the fields commercially. Proceeds from the maze and the pick-your-own sunflower in the adjacent field will go to the town.
This year, Coogan and Pigula decided the field of flowers would make a great maze, and enlisted the help of Pigula’s wife, Seil, to design the project. Highway department and summer employees of the town began working three weeks ago to cut the stalks and mulch the path in preparation for the maze opening.
Kim Gately, a highway department employee, said the maze drew more than 50 families the first Sunday, and more than 25 the following Monday.
“Wear walking shoes, and bring your camera,” Gately advised. The trail is easy walking, but the mulch is not sandal-friendly.
The maze was the answer to two weeks of clues Coogan submitted to The Advocate, pointing readers toward the “hidden gem” in Camillus. The treasure-hunt aspect of the project was something fun to make people smile and take their minds off gas prices for a while, Coogan said.
Ben Hunter, also of the highway department, said people comment on the uniqueness of the maze.
“This is the first time they’ve seen it done,” he said.
“I would absolutely love to pursue it next year,” Coogan said. She took her turn through the maze Thursday, before opening day, and loved it. “You really can get lost!”
What happens if someone wanders in and can’t find their way out?
Well, it hasn’t happened yet, said Gately. The path of the maze leads down into a shallow valley, making it easy to see other parts of the maze and get your bearings. People take anywhere from 10 or 15 minutes up to an hour to find the exit, and some choose to walk around the sunflowers even longer, she said.
Camillus summer employee Steven, who declined to give his last name, said he thinks the maze will help remind people about Veteran’s Memorial Park.
“A lot of people don’t realize Gillie Lake is even here,” he said.
Pigula also planted the sunflower fields near Bennetts Corners, said Gately. The seeds will be used to make bird seed and sunflower oil.