Mitchell’s claim to fame? It is the home of the world’s only Corn Palace. The original palace was more like a shack. Erected in 1892, it was called the Corn Belt Exposition. An organic structure, it was the place where successful farmers would come with their fruits, grains and vegetables, which were then attached to the exterior of the building, thus proving the fertility of South Dakota soil. But the local government soon decided that it wasn’t safe for people to congregate in such a flimsy building and began planning a new venue.

The present Corn Palace, which now towers above Micthell, wasn’t erected until 1921, but it still shows off the cream of the South Dakota crops. And in this part of South Dakota, corn is king.

At this annual August festival, locals celebrate the harvest by redecorating the Corn Palace. Over 275,000 ears or corn are used every year to make thirteen large murals on the outside walls of the building. For every festival, there’s a new theme, 2000’s being “www.millennium.corn,” celebrating scenes from millennium, such as “The Rock-N-Roll Era,” “The Depression Era”, “WWII” and others. This event draws 20,000 visitors, who also come for the food, music and carnival. This is a free event.

When: August every year

Where: Mitchell, SD, U.S.A.

More Info: For more info call 605/995-8420 or visit www.cornpalace.org.

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