MIDLAND Every year, farmers Matt and Jessica Norton try to add new attractions to Fiddlesticks Farms before opening up to the public in the fall.

This year will be no different as Matt and Jessica prepare for their 14th year of running Fiddlesticks Farms.

Located on 5610 E. County Rd in Midland, Fiddlesticks Farms will open for the season this Saturday.

The family fun attraction will be open on every weekend from Sept. 25-Nov. 20 with numerous events from exploring the farm’s seven-acre cornfield maze, wandering through its 10 acres of pumpkin patch, visiting farm animals or gathering around a campfire.

“We try to make it to where every time you come out here every year, you’re going to have a different and, hopefully, better experience than you did the previous years,” Matt said. “This year, we’ve added a few things.”

This year, the Nortons have expanded Fiddlesticks Farms, adding four new acres of their courtyard.

“We’ll have plenty of room to spread out so if someone wants to social distance a little bit more, you can give them more room,” Matt said.

Also new this year will be a grain truck that’s been turned into a stage.

“We’re going to be having live music on Saturday nights for a couple of hours in addition to the fireworks display,” Jessica said.

Another new item at Fiddlesticks Farms this year will be a chalk bus, which is a school bus (which the Nortons bought from Greenwood ISD) that’s been painted with chalk paint.

“We drew some pictures on there for kids to color with sidewalk chalk,” Jessica said.

“It’s kind of similar to the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo,” Matt said. “You can crawl on the bus and write your name on it and take your picture and do that every weekend if you like.”

There will also be a pick-your-own flower patch throughout the season at the farm.

“It’s one of those things that you don’t know when the flowers are going to bloom so we can’t predict it but it’ll be throughout the season,” Jessica said. “We will highlight that on our social media account.”

Each year, Fiddlesticks Farms has a different theme for its corn maze.

This year’s corn maze design will be about supporting small and local businesses.

“During last year, all the small businesses had to tough it out and we wanted to show our support and show them that we appreciate all the businesses that stuck it out,” Matt said. “It was pretty rough and it isn’t over yet but we’re fighting through it.”

Last year’s corn maze theme was Texas Strong.

“It was a tribute to the state of Texas,” Matt said. “Texans had to come together with everything that happened and we wanted to show our support for the state of Texas last year.”

There’ll be no shortage of special events at Fiddlesticks Farms this year.

Every Saturday night in October will feature fireworks.

Each weekend, another popular attraction will feature the candy blaster which fires off a load of sweets every Saturday and Sunday afternoon in September, October and November.

Helicopter rides will be held on Oct. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31.

Halloween will also fall on a weekend this year as well and Fiddlesticks Farms will be having costume contests and trick-or-treating.

“We have multiple events,” Jessica said. “We’ll have something different every weekend. We’ll have Doggie Day (on Oct. 2 and 3) and we’re going to allow guests to bring their dogs. It was a hit last year so we’re offering that again. We’re going to have a Heroes Weekend (Oct. 9 and 10) where we give discounts to the military and first responders.”

Home schooled kids feed pigs outside of the learning barn at the Fiddlesticks Farms in Midland Monday, October 1, 2018. (Odessa American File Photo)

It almost goes without saying that putting together Fiddlesticks Farms each fall is the culmination of a year-long process for the Nortons.

“We already started prepping for things that we want to do for next season,” Matt said. “Of course, the last two weeks before we open, it’s been crazy trying to get everything finished up like we want it and getting the small details to make things perfect. But it is exciting and you get to see your whole year’s worth of work come together and see people enjoy it.”

Jessica echoed those thoughts.

“We’ve all been busy doing what we have to do,” Jessica said. “We have three kids so we have all of our stuff going on with them. We’re still trying to get our new attractions set up so everybody’s just been super busy. I don’t know if we’ve had time to be excited.”

It takes numerous people to get everything done the way Matt and Jessica want things done. The Nortons also have to balance the work load with Fiddlesticks and their own farm.

“We also farm cotton,” Jessica said. “It takes farming cotton and running Fiddlesticks Farms for us to operate both businesses and they go hand-in-hand. It takes a whole lot of people and a lot of time and man hours. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of stress.”

However, Jessica says it is all worth it.

“We’ve made a lot of family time out of it and built a whole lot of friendships,” Jessica said. “It’s all wonderful opportunities and we always get to grow and meet new people whenever we have a new staff come on. I believe we started hiring new staff members and started accepting applications in January and started doing interviews in the middle of July. It’s a tedious process but it takes a lot of people to do the behind-the-scenes. It takes a lot of people to run the farm when we’re open as well. We usually have 60-80 staff members on hand when we’re open.”

Matt’s favorite thing about running Fiddlesticks Farms with his wife is everything but he also likes seeing things come together.

“It’s all fun to me,” Matt said. “For me, personally, the farm is a giant puzzle. It’s a challenge to get it all put together and trying to get the pieces to fall into place.  It is certainly a challenge. … But the most fun part for me is trying to get it all put together in the right order to make it work out just right.”

If you go

  • What: Fiddlesticks Farms.
  • When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday is grand opening with the Farms open every weekend until Nov. 20.
  • Where: Fiddlesticks Farms, 5610 E. County Rd, Midland.