If You Build It, They Will Come
By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Not unlike the theme in the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, a Yalobusha couple have designed and constructed a new farm attraction that features a 500-foot rooster in a corn field maze and other farm-related activities to attract visitors in droves.
Doug and Rhonda Webb moved to Yalobusha County several years ago, purchasing a small farm located off of Hwy. 32, just west of Water Valley. Since the purchase, they have cultured an farm atmosphere designed for family entertainment and farm education.
Dubbed Fiddlin’ Rooster Farm, owner Doug Webb estimates the number of visitors in their first year of operation could nudge the five digit figure.
“We have done a lot of research in similar areas,” Doug Webb explained, before the couple launched the new agri-tourism business in rural Yalobusha.
These numbers are also bolstered by marketing the location to area schools as both an educational and fun experience for a field trip, which is an important part of the business plan. Schools from Pontotoc, Friars Point and Water Valley have already booked field trips. Church groups from surrounding areas have also booked trips to the farm as the fun begins.
Although the activities are almost too numerous to list, the featured attraction is the corn field featuring a giant maze that incorporates a 500 foot fiddlin’ rooster in its design. Local farmer Travis Brooks planted the corn field, double-planting so the stalks would be thick.
“They did a fantastic job, you can’t peek through the rows,” Doug Webb added.
The tricky part came with the actual maze design. Fiddlin’ Rooster Farm is affiliated with a Utah-based company, The Maize, the world’s largest corn maze consulting company. This company designs mazes for almost 250 fields across the nation and their “cutting team” came to the farm when the corn was almost knee high.
“They showed up one evening with all kinds of elaborate tools,” Doug Webb explained. Working all afternoon and into the night, the team designed the maze incorporating the fiddlin’ rooster logo into the field.
The logo was designed by Water Valley teacher Doug Anderson, who initially scratched the design on a napkin almost a year ago as the initial work began.
The maze is only part of the attraction at Fiddlin’ Rooster Farm. Other activities include the pig races, where the Webbs have 12 “highly trained” porkers who have a special circuit to compete for the fastest pig honor. A barnyard playground offers fun, the old-fashioned way, complete with tire swings, huge slides, hay to climb on, games and much more.
A farm would not be a farm without other farm animals and this is no exception at Fiddlin Rooster. The lineup includes horses, goats, ducks, geese, chickens, and “Daisy,” the shetland mule.
Activities for the smaller kids include a hay bale maze and duck rubber duck race, plus plenty of dirt to take home as a souvenir. And don’t forget to check out the hay ride and cow train.
A gift shop and bakery complete the lineup, and the farm boasts a bonafide chef. The Webbs’ daughter, Leanna Tholl, will offer homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, cakes, cookies, brownies and much more, made fresh each day. Tholl has a culinary degree.
The bakery will be a year-round business, and sports a full commercial kitchen.
Although slightly delayed by rain, the farm’s fall schedule kicked off last weekend and runs through Nov. 7.
The farm is open to the public Thursday and Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.
“You may want to bring your flashlight,” Doug Webb advised, if you are planning to enjoy some of the farm activities until closing time.
Admission if $10 for ages 12 and over. Admission for children ages 3 – 11 is $8 and children, ages 2 and under get in free. Group rates are also available.
Other events will be added to the lineup in addition to the fall season, including an Easter Egg hunt, music and barn dances and other special events.
For more information, visit their website at: www.fiddlinroosterfarm.com.