Tom Delehanty drove backward the entire way to cut out the maze designed by Pam McGroarty.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

If you think you can’t get lost in Socorro, your local farmer’s market has a challenge for you with a sunflower maze designed to test your sense of direction. Located across the railroad tracks on Otero Street (toward the Rio Grande), there’s a 3½-acre plot of gorgeous sunflowers so thick it reminds you of how the ghostly baseball players in the movie “Field of Dreams” melted into the cornfield.

Ghostly in October, what’s not to love about this?

Socorro’s Pam McGroarty came up with the idea and approached Tom Delehanty about creating a maze in his sunflower patch. As a landscape designer, McGroarty used her skills to develop a very elaborate and mind-bending design. Matched up with Tom’s ability to turn his tractor on a dime and give you change, it was a perfect fit.

Over the past two months, the project has come to life. Oct. 14-29 on Fridays and weekends, you can take the Socorro Farmer’s Market Sunflower Challenge for $5 per person. There will be more than the maze, with music, hayrides, artisans and food vendors.

Sunflowers bloom in Socorro’s sunflower maze.

“We are going to have a ‘rescue team’ if people get lost where they can get hints on how to find their way out,” McGroarty said. There is one way in and one way out, and cutting the maze was a serious challenge.

McGroarty would set up a fruit-picker pole to signal where Delehanty needed to stop when cutting — a whistle perched on her lips so she could let him know when to stop. “Tom was so wonderful, and he is so skilled with a tractor,” McGroarty said.

The money raised will go toward helping the farmer’s market advertise and help pay musicians who generally play for tips.

“It’s going to be a great time, and it’s an event you can bring your whole family to and have a great time figuring out how to get through the maze,” McGroarty said. Workers will be posted throughout the maze with hints and flags where they can signal participants about what direction they need to take. Because the terrain is a little rough and there are lots of “pokey” things, no open-toed shoes are allowed. If you would like more information, email [email protected]

Russell Huffman, El Defensor Chieftain Asst. Editor