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Support the troops with fun
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The approach of autumn in Oxford means hay rides, pumpkin carving and becoming lost in giant corn mazes.

Facilitators of Colonel Cob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Oxford have deemed opening night on Friday "Support Our Troops Night."

"One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Operation Sandbox for items we put in our packages or postage - whatever we need," said organization founder Virginia Pearson.

Since Pearson and her daughter founded Operation Sandbox, they with the help of dozens of volunteers have sent thousands of care packages to soldiers serving overseas.

Pearson explained the idea for opening night came from someone who worked at the maze whose son was serving in Iraq.

In addition to navigating the corn maze - which is shaped like the Statue of Liberty this year - patrons can enjoy hay rides, concessions, farm animal petting zoos, play areas and face painting.

"It's very family oriented," Pearson said.

Several soldiers stationed out of the Covington Armory will attend the event as well.

"Parents can bring their camera and take pictures of their children in front of the Humvee with the soldiers," Pearson said.

She also asks attendees to stop by the Christmas card booth and sign one of the many cards Operation Sandbox will send out this holiday season.

"All you have to do is, sign them or write a message saying thank you," Pearson said, "and younger children can draw a picture of a Christmas tree or something like that if they can't write yet."

Pearson currently is organizing several other large fundraising events for the holidays and said she is amazed at the number of individuals and companies who want to help.

"I've got so many people coming forward asking me about sponsoring fundraisers," Pearson said, "and that's just the American spirit coming out in people."

Colonel Cob's will be open until Nov. 11. The maze is open on Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.