September 24, 2004
If Oprah Winfrey checks her mailbox like normal people, today she will find an odd package along with the usual bills and junk mail.
Inside the box sent by Carrie and Mark Schnepf of Queen Creek’s Schnepf Farms is an aerial photograph of the popular talk-show host’s face etched in a field of corn and an invitation to come see the bizarre artwork in person.
"I don’t know if she’s ever seen her face in a cornfield," said Carrie Schnepf, who spent the better part of Thursday preparing Winfrey’s invitation package and driving it to a FedEx office for overnight delivery. "We thought this would be a really great tribute to Oprah because she really does make dreams come true."
The Schnepfs, who came up with the celebrity cornfield idea in 2003, managed to get their first subject, talk-show host and journalist Larry King, to visit in person for a flyover last fall.
But King is a family friend (his wife, Shawn Southwick, went to school with Carrie), and the Schnepfs don’t know Winfrey.
"Hopefully she’s going to take an interest," Schnepf said. "If she wants to fly in, we’re going to fly her over the farm."
The celebrity corn maze creation process begins with a drawing of the star, which is entered into a computer grid corresponding to stalks of corn in the field.
The artist uses a satellite to view work from above and mark the corn stalks to be removed using blue paint.
The painted stalks are then sprayed with weed killer when they are about about 6 inches tall.
Schnepf Farms received national attention last year, partly because King talked and wrote about it.