By Jasmine Carter
Independent Special Writer
The sun shone brightly as it set across the cornstalks and farm wagons at DeBuck’s Farm on Martz Road in Van Buren Township.
After more than 30 years as a sod farm, the DeBuck’s business has transitioned to a corn maze, making family fun from hard times. When the housing slump hit the sod farm, Norman DeBuck and his family started thinking of diversifying the family business.
His new business plan was to create family entertainment.
“Our family was always good at entertaining people — Halloween parties, gatherings,” son Scott DeBuck said, adding that the family wondered, “Why not entertain for the people of Belleville?”
They started studying the entertainment business and attended conventions and seminars across the country.
This is the DeBucks’ fifth season with the corn maze, after opening in 2009. The sod farm started in 1980 and continues.
Debuck’s corn maze is open just a few weeks each fall, this year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 27.
School tours are Tuesdays through Fridays, with admission of $5 per student and includes a small pumpkin for an additional $1 each.
Teachers are admitted free, but additional parents or siblings must pay. The school tours are educational and include various activities for children to enjoy.
“During the week, it’s school groups only and the outside public is not allowed. The public is here only on weekends for security purposes,” said owner Norman DeBuck.
Wanting to create a safe haven for young children and security for families to enjoy themselves, DeBuck’s corn maze focuses on having fun and learning along the way.
The corn maze, Family Fun Area, Pumpkin Patch, and Linda’s Country Kitchen are open Fridays 6 to 10 p.m.
The site is open Saturdays 1 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. General admission is $11 (for ages three and older), seniors citizens, aged 65 and up are $9 and children aged two and under are free with a paid adult. Ticket sales end one hour before closing.
DeBuck’s is a family business owned by Norman and Linda DeBuck.
DeBuck’s corn maze has Linda’s kitchen that serves chicken noodle soup, pulled pork, chili, and also offers daily specials. Washing stations and restroom facilities are available for use at all times.
Those who come to the farm vary with the day, said Scott DeBuck. On Friday nights it’s usually high school students and moms and dads who want a night out to themselves, he said.
“Saturdays and Sundays are usually family days,” he said, adding they get a lot of groups from churches, baseball teams, scouts, and social organizations.
“I encourage other farmers to do their homework,” said Norman DeBuck. “I never stop researching. I am very dedicated in this line of work.”
“Every year gets busier and busier,” said Linda DeBuck. “Every year as more people support the business it gives DeBuck’s enough money to add additional attractions.”
Jasmine Carter of Van Buren Township is a senior majoring in journalism at Eastern Michigan University.