Great Godfrey Maze returns after a 2 year hiatus

GODFREY, Illinois – Corn out and hemp in for a Halloween maze in Godfrey, Illinois. The director of the village’s local parks and recreation department was concerned that when people heard “hemp” they would think “marijuana.”

There is a very big difference.

For years the Great Godfrey Maze had been a Halloween corn maze. This year it’s a maze cut into a field of sun hemp.

“I do not know what it is. It caught me off guard. I thought it was going to be corn, but it’s not,” said Dyllon Proudie, who has lived in Godfrey his entire life.

Proudie brought Betsy Dixon to see the corn and instead showed her seven acres of sunny hemp. They had never heard of the plant.

“The first thing I thought of when I heard that was the perception of the public and what they would think,” said Chris Logan, director of Godfrey Parks and Recreation. “There’s definitely an association… but it doesn’t actually look like a marijuana plant at all. It doesn’t contain any of the mind-altering chemicals.”

Sunn Hemp is not even a form of cannabis. It’s a legume. There is no bud to eat or smoke to get high. Sunn hemp has yellow flowers and seed pods. Twine, paper, and mazes can be made from its tall stems.

Godfrey’s Labyrinth is a circus theme. Maze runners trace the path of a large circus tent, a clown, a seal, a lion and an elephant, along with the caption: “The Greatest Show in Godfrey”. After almost 20 years, corn has used up the nutrients in the soil and couldn’t grow high enough for a maze last year. The COVID pandemic canceled the maze in 2020. So Sunn Hemp is fine in 2022.

“I think a maze is a maze. It looks fun,” Dixon said.

“It’s more of a big garden. A big garden of yellow roses,” said Proudie.

“A lot of people have probably never seen this plant before, let alone a maze made out of it. So it’s a little different, a little twist on our heritage event, and everyone thinks it’s pretty cool,” Logan said.

It’s also a lot cheaper than corn. The sunny hemp maze cost Godfrey less than $2,000, about half the cost of corn.

Sunn hemp also replenishes soil nutrients. So corn could be back next year. But maybe not. Great Godfrey Maze returns after a 2 year hiatus

Sarah Y. Kim

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