Orchard wants visitors to ‘Eat a Peach’ while in a maze

pramati@macon.comSeptember 29, 2013 

This artist’s rendering shows what the corn maze featuring an Allman Brother Band cover would look like.

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It seems to be a pairing that was destined to happen eventually.

The combination of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Eat a Peach” double album and Lane Southern Orchards -- widely known for its peaches -- will merge Wednesday when the Fort Valley-based company opens its Sixth Annual Corn Maze with a decidedly Allman Brothers theme.

In fact, said Lane Southern Orchards spokeswoman Wendy Barton, the idea came up before when the company first started its corn maze six years ago, but other themes ended up taking precedence.

“The first year (of the maze) was our 100th anniversary,” Barton said. “We also wanted to do one to support the troops, and there was a farm-to-family (theme).”

There also was the matter of securing permission from the band to use its name and album for the maze design. The company approached Lisa McLendon, executive director of The Big House Museum, for help.

“I was totally, totally surprised,” McLendon said. “It’s a neat, cool thing for people to experience. ... When I contacted the band’s management, they were blown over with just the suggestion of it. They thought it was a really neat venture.”

Lane hired The Maize, a Utah-based company that specializes in cornfield mazes, to create and execute the design, which features the band’s name, a large peach, a mushroom, a delivery truck, and “Eat a Peach 2013” at the maze’s top end.

“Eat a Peach” was produced in 1972 and was the last album to feature guitarist and founder Duane Allman, who died the previous October. It features such classics as “Melissa” and “Blue Sky.”

Barton said the orchard started the maze because October is usually the company’s slowest month.

“We have about 300,000 visitors a year, but typically, they come during the summer,” she said. “We thought we needed to do something in the fall, so we decided to do a corn maze. We have the acreage to do it. It’s about 6 acres.”

Barton said the maze will include various stops along it, where people can try to answer Allman Brothers-related trivia. A correct answer to the question will point participants in the correct direction to clear the maze.

The orchard is partnering with The Big House on a special promotion, in which a $12 ticket can get a person joint admission to both the maze and the museum. Barton said the visits don’t have to be on the same day. There’s a live concert event at the orchard Oct. 26.

The maze will stay open through Oct. 31. The special pass will be honored by the museum through Dec. 31.

Barton said there’s only going to be one thing missing at the maze.

“I’d love to get The Allman Brothers here, but I don’t know if that’s in my budget,” she said.

For the complete hours and prices for the maze, visit www.lanesouthernorchards.com. For hours and prices at The Big House, visit www.thebighousemuseum.com.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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