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Fall is still on! Farms getting corn mazes, pumpkin patches ready for visitors

The owners of Ballinger Farms were worried they wouldn't be able to reopen, but are able to offer festivities while protecting their livelihood.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — Fall is less than 30 days away, but those usual traditions, like corn mazes and pumpkin patches, will look a little different this year because of the pandemic.

Some farms are protecting their livelihood without canceling the festivities.

At Ballinger Farm Crazy Maze in Jefferson County, the corn is growing and the pumpkins are still green. Owners have been busy getting the area ready.

"We've just been getting ready and doing what we need to do," owner Rebecca Ballinger said.

While the summer sun is sticking around for now, the owners of this fall hot spot are just glad they're able to open during the pandemic.

"In the beginning, when everything closed down, we were concerned," Ballinger admitted. "This is something our family survives on."

Just like everything else, the outlook for fall fun was uncertain, but this farm is their livelihood.

"Fortunately it happened early in the year so we had all summer to kind of see how it was gonna play out," Ballinger said.

RELATED: Ballinger Farm shares sneak peek of maze

They're taking precautions, by installing hand sanitizer stations, cleaning high touch zones and marking off separated spots on the hay rides.

"We're very fortunate because we're so large," Ballinger noted. "We have a lot of space to cover, so people kind of keep to themselves anyways."

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture gave the farm the green light to welcome families back since they are an outdoor business.

 The design of the corn maze shows just how unpredictable 2020 has been for the Ballingers.

Credit: Dennis Duck

"What's the only thing that hasn't happened this year? Well, the aliens haven't landed, so hey, I just threw an alien in the maze and put a face mask on him with a little peace sign," Ballinger laughed.

They're hopeful families can keep their fall traditions intact, just don't expect to bob for apples.

"Those leaves are gonna change, those pumpkins are gonna grow and it's gonna be here," Ballinger smiled.

Most corn mazes will open in September. Ballinger Farm opens Sept. 14.

Mask mandates will not apply to outdoor areas.