Just to review: After Lily Dale, I headed to Chicago to stay with a friend for the night. Then it was off to Myre Big Island State Park in Albert Lea, Minnesota for some camping and hiking. I finally, begrudgingly, left the park at around 3:30 pm and headed west until I hit a KOA in Mitchell, South Dakota. For some reason, I always end up there. It’s the place where driving fatigue always compels me to stop. After a very rainy night in the tent, I headed to the world’s first and only Corn Palace. It was free, so why the heck not? Here are some factoids about Mitchell’s glorious monument to maize:
- The corn palace is redecorated every year with a different theme.
- 600,000 pieces of corn are used to decorate the outside each year.
- 3,000 bushels of grains and grasses are also used to decorate the outside each year.
- 9 different colors of Indian corn are used in the murals.
- Over a ton of nails, staples and wire are used to secure it all.
- Approximately $100,000 is spent each year in the redecorating process.
- It’s open year round and free to enjoy.
It was well worth the brief interlude off Interstate 90 to see this. The Kremlin-o-corn is basically a large auditorium inside, including stadium seating, a gym floor and a stage. This leads me to believe that the corn palace pulls double duty. What a pain in the arse it must be to move an entire gift shop when you have an event! Every last inch of wall space on the inside is covered with detailed corn and grass murals. On the floor is a gift shop in which the proceeds go to keeping the palace free and open to the public. All-in-all, it’s corny but pretty cool. I happily did my part by purchasing some Corn Palace post cards and then it was back to the beloved old grind.