October 17, 2013 in Washington Voices

HUB Sports Center creates corn maze

 The Spokesman-Review


Colin Mulvany photo

Left to right, Brooklyn Werther, 8, Brooke Swenhaugen, 7, Carson Wood, 6, mom, Connie Werther and dad Shane Swenhaugen, navigate the Hub Sports Center Corn Maze in Liberty Lake on Oct. 13. During the day, the sports-themed corn maze is family friendly – at night, it’s a haunted trail.
(Full-size photo)

If you go

The HUB Sports Center Corn Maze, 19619 E. Cataldo Ave., is open Fridays, 5 to 11 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. through Oct. 27. Admission for all three trails inside the maze is $9 for adults and teens, $6 for children 5 through 12 and seniors, and free for children 4 and younger.

The Haunted Trail of Fear is open 6 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 24, 27 and 31.

Admission, which includes the other three trails, is $10 for adults and teens and $7 for children ages 5 through 12 and seniors. This trail is not recommended for children 4 and younger.

For more information, call the HUB at (509) 927-0602.

The HUB Sports Center is known for offering basketball, volleyball, soccer and exercise classes. This fall, they are offering a corn maze for the first time.

Executive Director Phil Champlin said someone suggested the idea to him earlier this year.

“She said, ‘It’s a great fundraiser,’ ” Champlin said. “ ‘You should do it.’ ”

Starting in June, he and his staff started working with a local farmer, Tom Psomas, to learn everything they needed to about growing corn. They planted 10 acres on the land just adjacent to the center which was loaned to them by Greenstone Homes. They learned how to irrigate the field of corn and maintain it.

“You could literally watch it grow,” he said.

Champlin enlisted Maze Play, an Idaho company specializing in creating corn mazes. The design reflects the sports of HUB. The map of the maze reveals a baseball player, a basketball player, a football and the largest soccer ball you’ve ever seen.

After it was completed, Champlin took a helicopter ride and took aerial photographs.

“It’s impressive,” he said.

Along with the regular trails where visitors can get lost and collect punches on a card with coupons from local businesses, if visitors like to get scared, there is a whole section of the maze just for that.

“Some people like to get scared,” Champlin said. Members of local theater groups dress in their scariest costumes to give visitors a case of the frights. He said it’s a trail you have to follow, not one to get lost on to find zombies, ghosts, ghouls and, of course, the old farmer with his chainsaw.

Funds raised by the maze will benefit programs at the HUB such as its 360 program, which offers after-school activities to students at Greenacres Middle School, and the Family Fun Festival. Champlin said the funds will allow the HUB to do these types of events at no or low cost.

“We want to do the right thing within the community,” he said.

He estimated 500 to 600 people came out the first weekend in October.

Champlin’s own children, who range in age from 8 to 12, went through the maze with him and later talked their friends into coming. He said they loved the adventure of getting lost and trying to read the map to figure out where they were.

“I’m very popular at home right now because I made a corn maze,” he joked.

Each trail has one entrance and one exit, and Champlin said visitors can do all three in about an hour. If you go at night, there are floodlights, but he recommends bringing your own flashlight.

And if you get lost? There is no need to worry.

“We’ll come find you.”