Lacombe Corn Maze has been in the business of befuddlement for years.
But this year, the Kraay family have set themselves an even bigger challenge than getting visitors lost amid the stalks. The Kraays are after a world record.
Carved out of their cornfield is — at this point unofficially — the world’s largest QR code, those matrix barcodes that can be scanned with smart phones to direct people to websites.
Rachel Kraay said they took to a helicopter on Monday to take a photo of their 310,000-square-foot or 7.1-acre QR code and successfully scanned it and linked to the corn maze’s website at www.kraayfamilyfarm.com.
All the necessary documentation and witness information has been bundled together and will be mailed to the London offices of the Guinness Book of World Records this week. If accepted, the Kraays’ colossal QR code will crush its nearest rival, a 14,156-square-foot version created in Belgium in February, according to the Guinness website.
Kraay, who came up with the idea of creating the challenging design, admits she was a little nervous that a cornfield code wouldn’t work.
Her fears appeared to be well-founded. When they first took to the sky, the barcode wouldn’t scan. But after consulting with some people familiar with the barcodes, they decided the dirt between the rows of corn needed to be darker.
“So we went out there with our rototiller and dug up the dirt again and it worked. I guess the dirt wasn’t black enough. Maybe the rain helped, I don’t know.”
The Kraays, whose maze will open to the public for the season at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, hope to hear back from Guinness early next month on whether they can count themselves record holders.
In its 13th year, the 15-acre maze remains a popular Central Alberta attraction and has been adding new features every year.
This year, a giant snakes and ladders game joins outdoor chess and checkers boards. A tire mountain and new slide have been added and kettle corn is now on sale for the first time. A few more animals have joined the menagerie of cuddly critters and the mini golf, gemstone mine sluice, jumping pillow, climbing spiderwebs, pedal car tracks and daily pig races are all back.
The maze is open until Oct. 20. Summer hours are Monday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Sept. 2.
Labour Day Monday hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission costs $12 for adults, $10 for children aged three to 12 and seniors 65 and over. Season passes and group rates are available.
A portion of revenues is donated to the World Food Program and Lacombe Food Bank. The maze is located south of Hwy 12 about two km west of Hwy 2.
For information, go to www.kraayfamilyfarm.com.