Cool Patch Pumpkins
Matt and Mark Cooley have spent all their lives in Dixon, California. They are farmers, growing tomatoes, walnuts, alfalfa and wheat, just as their father did. But in the year 2000, inspiration hit. “We decided to grow something different– a few pumpkins for Halloween,” explains Matt. “But nobody bought them during our first year…or our second.”
Enter the second inspiration. It came in the form of a puzzle. Matt suggested that they try attracting more pumpkin buyers by building a corn maze. Mark created an imaginative, small labyrinth. Their first effort consisted of 15 acres. The pumpkins started selling. From their humble start, the brothers became more ambitious.
Working on the design by hand in the field to create more complicated designs, the brothers’ maze became an artistic endeavor. Each year, Mark lays out his complex ideas on an Excel spread sheet—the planting and cutting begins. Family, friends and even local basketball and soccer teams in Dixon help out. “It’s great when it all comes together—it really fulfills us in a unique way,” says Mark. “Everyone tells us our maze is The maze to visit.”
Moving from their original pumpkin patch in Davis, the Cooleys now offer the largest labyrinth corn maze in the world. Last year, they received that designation from the Guinness World Book of Records with their 40-acre puzzle. This year—it’s even bigger. The brothers are offering a 45-acre corn maze extravaganza. That’s nearly 2 acres larger than the 2009 layout.
The patch also features a scarecrow contest, tee pee village, and pedal carts and big tricycles for a ride through the patch. Oh, and they’re selling pumpkins too. Thousands of them. Come get yours at Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon!
During the final week of the event, Cool Patch Pumpkins will do what it did last year: host one of the largest single pumpkins smashes in the world. Last year, a Volkswagen bug, destined for the wrecking yard, was, instead, smashed by a 1,000-pound pumpkin at the patch. The brothers are looking for a larger pumpkin this year.