A family dream grows into a fall-fun maze for Siouxlanders at Holly View Acres
HOLLY SPRINGS, Iowa (KTIV) - A Northwest Iowa fall attraction is gearing up for its 2nd season, but the journey to get there hasn’t been easy.
Up on a hill outside of Holly Springs, Iowa sits Holly View Acres, a family-owned pumpkin patch and corn maze, created by Michael and Maria Gallagher.
“We want this to be a place where you can relax and enjoy and spend as much time with your family,” said Michael Gallagher, a 5th generation farmer.
With a farm-inspired swing set, sensory boxes, hay rack rides and a pumpkin patch with over 30 different varieties, there is something for everyone.
“We have general desires really for people that don’t have an interaction on the farm every day, that we can bring them here during what we believe is our greatest time of the year. And that’s the fall season,” said Michael.
While people can find all sorts of activities at Holly View Acres, the big draw is their corn maze. Michael Gallagher uses his farming technology to help bring the maze to life.
“We try and plant the design into it just to make it easier for us to cut and do a better job,” he explained. “But it takes a lot of time honestly, just to keep weeds down, to keep your (walking) pads maintained. You want that to be an easy place for families to be able to walk through come fall season.”
The maze also tells a story, the story of their first season in 2022, and of a personal struggle for the Gallaghers.
“This year, we felt like something was just really laid on our heart that we wanted to talk about our last season, which just was a very difficult season for us in our family,” he explained. “Starting a new business like this last year was enough in itself, and then I was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkins lymphoma.”
“Michael had cancer last summer,” said his wife Maria. “And we have had two years of terrible drought. And so we, through all of that, felt like the Lord’s faithfulness was super evident. And so we wanted that to be reflected in our maze this year. So that is why we have Faithful In All Seasons, in the storms, or when times are good, he is faithful.”
That journey can be seen from the sky and also felt within the maze. “Last year was hard,” said Maria. “We had a lot going on trying to start a new business. But looking back, it’s maybe a little bit like, how did we do it, but the Lord is super faithful. He provided.”
The maze is their big project and one that Siouxlanders of all ages can enjoy.
“If this is your first time going in the maze, it might take you up to 45 minutes to an hour honestly to find all five activities scattered throughout the maze,” Michael explained. “So it’s going to take some time and it’s a little bit of work and it’s going to take some energy, but we had anybody from three years old last year do the whole thing, up to people that were in their 60s and 70s go through most of the maze and enjoy it.”
The Gallaghers are ready for their 2nd season and already thinking ahead for the years to come.
“I think we truly desire to be a family-owned small business that people can come and experience,” Maria said. “And we want our family to always be on the grounds and the faces that you see when you come.”
“And we just love fall, we love harvest,” explained Michael. “And if we can have people come out for the beautiful weather and that fall smell in the air, and be able to have them, enjoy it with us, that’s what we want.”
The corn maze also features activities within it to challenge visitors to find their way through the entire maze. Holly View Acres officially opens for this season Friday, September 15th.
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