After The Badlands we faced a long, long week of driving. With the mountains behind us and America’s breadbasket lying between us and DC, we had to put some serious miles on the odomoter. But before we went too far, a stop in Mitchell, SD for the Corn Palace was a must.
While planning our route East, I saw the Corn Palace on the map. Show me something so obviously cheesy and I’m all ears. With a kernel of interest fully planted, I knew we had to visit.
Now, in my mind when you say Corn Palace I imagine a structure built of corn. I understand that this is a horrible idea structurally, but the mind goes where it goes. The Corn Palace is shaped like a tiny Taj Mahal with giant corn cob murals on the sides. Every year the Corn Palace committee decides a theme and they shuck out the money, stalk down some help, and cob the murals together. Decades of experience have made the process smooth as silk these days and for 2017 they chose music as the theme. The outsides commemorated music greats, though some of the spires still needed touching up.
All in all, the murals were neat enough. Bracing ourselves for more, we entered. It turns out that the Corn Palace is an event hall / stadium that sells really corny chotskies covering a vast spectrum well beyond just t-shirt, mugs, spoons, and bumper stickers. Dried corn husks for your Christmas tree? Check. Microwave popcorn that is on the cob? Check.
All in all, the Corn Palace was not what I expected, but to be fair to reality I doubt anything could have matched what my mind cooked up for this place. It’s cute a Mitchell is the place to host it as the Midwest makes more corn per hectacre than anywhere else in the world.