Visiting corn mazes and going apple picking are a favorite fall activity among Illinois residents. So when a local farm in Woodstock, about 60 miles outside of Chicago, posted a photo of their newly-designed corn maze to Reddit, it's no surprise the thread drew hundreds of comments.
But this isn't your typical corn maze.
"Glory to Ukraine," the message at the top of the eight-acre corn maze reads, above a design of two Ukrainian symbols: the sunflower, Ukraine's national flower, and a Trident, the Ukrainian coat of arms.
Above that, a corn-planted American Eagle is surrounded by two stars, and the phrase "God Bless America."
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
"It didn't take long," said Sergiy Bazylyuk, who owns Sun Berry Farm, where the corn maze is located, with his family, who are first-generation Ukrainian immigrants and farmers in the northwest suburbs.
According to Bazylyuk, the maze was easy to make and completed in about a day, thanks to a design map and a computerized digital planter that automatically dispensed seeds into precise locations.
But to Bazylyuk, who grew up on a farm in Ukraine, it's also incredibly meaningful.
"The initial plan was to express how grateful we are to the United States for helping Ukraine in these difficult times," he said. "We would also like to express the glory to our heroes in Ukraine for protecting us to this point."
With an agriculture background, Bazylyuk says farming and owning a farm was always his dream. After coming to the United States for college, his next step was to collect enough money for a down payment, buy a farm and get to work.
In all, he bought three: Sun Berry Orchard Farm, in Woodstock, where the corn maze is located; Sun Berry Orchard in Mundelein, with a petting zoo, heirloom produce and freshly squeeze apple cider; and Sun Berry Orchard U-Pick, also in Woodstock, where fresh produce and more than 100 varieties of apples are ripe for the picking -- including Honeycrisp, Gala and Antonovka, a variety native to Eastern Europe.
Hours at each location vary. As for the corn maze, entry is $10 per person, with 10% of corn maze proceeds going to Ukraine aid, a post on Berry Orchard's Facebook page says.
"We hope you will come to visit it not only for the thrill of getting lost in the corn but for the larger message that it carries about our shared humanity," the post reads.
For more information about visiting the farms, visit Sun Berry Orchard's website.