PORTLAND, Ore. - It won't be long before the trees start changing color, Halloween items start showing up on store shelves and we exchange our flip-flops for rain boots.
Here's another sign: the opening of the popular Sauvie Island corn maze. Every time around this year, the folks at The Pumpkin Patch come up with a unique design and for their 15th anniversary, they're going with a 'Keep Portland Lost' theme.
It's a play on the Keep Portland Weird slogan and folks who visit The MAiZE, as it's called, are encouraged to find their inner weirdness while they navigate a five-acre corn field with two miles of twists and turns.
"We'll be giving people trivia cards, which we call 'passports,' to help them navigate through the maze," said Craig Easterly, the guy who founded the corn maze and keeps the annual tradition going each year. "This year we came up with things that we think are weird about Portland to test people's knowledge."
The MAiZE is one of Portland's most well-known fall attractions - around 30,000 people try to master the challenging labyrinth each year.
"I get a kick out of listening to families as they go through the maze and try to figure out where they're going," Easterly said. "It's a great way to spend an afternoon on the farm."
And folks are always interested in knowing how the maze is made, so we asked Easterly to explain the process. He said he works with world-renowned corn maze designer Brett Herbst.
"I give him an idea and I submit to him and give a row count," Easterly said. "After we plant the corn, I figure out how many rows of corn go each way. And then once the corn is up out of the ground, we go and mark the field using a grid system. We count rows of corn, draw it on the ground and then once it's all drawn on the ground, we just remove two rows of corn."
"The design is actually put in in early July," Easterly added. "And as the corn grows up, the design appears in the field."
The grand opening is this Saturday and will coincide with the annual Labor Day Harvest Festival at The Pumpkin Patch. In addition to the corn maze, there will be hayrides, hay pyramids, a cow train and much more. And if you're celebrating a birthday during the farm's fall festivities, you can get in to The MAiZE for free.
In related news, something strange was recently discovered at an undisclosed cornfield near Portland. Local authorities and paranormal experts are investigating and they're taking a close look at video that shows an odd-looking figure.
No, we're not being invaded by aliens - this is actually the latest stunt by the folks that are promoting the new Plants vs. Zombies 2 game that was recently released. The image in the cornfield is a Cowboy Zombie, one of the characters in the game.
A few weeks ago, Seattle-based video game developer PopCap, which was acquired by EA Games in 2011, took over the Space Needle in a similar fashion.
Photo by Joshua Lewis, KOMO News.