Mitchell, South Dakota is home to a quirky and one of a kind attraction – The Corn Palace. I’ll admit when I first heard about The Corn Palace, I was somewhat skeptical. However, a trusted source from South Dakota insisted it was worth a stop. She was right. I’m glad we made time for a visit!
The Corn Palace has a great backstory. In the late 1800’s, the citizens of Mitchell decided to build a corn palace to showcase its rich farmland to attract settlers. Oddly enough, this was not a novel idea at the time. In fact, corn and grain palaces were cropping up throughout the plains. Fortunately, Mitchell’s Corn Palace has stood the test of time thanks to the support of the community.
Mitchell’s original corn palace was built in 1892 and was the centerpiece of the Corn Belt Expo. It has been rebuilt several times over the years. Today’s Corn Palace was constructed in 1921 and serves as an entertainment venue as well as a home for community events.
Surprisingly, there is no charge to visit the Corn Palace! Several exhibits highlight the importance of corn on the economy as well as the painstaking work that goes into decorating the palace each year. Many of these exhibits are interactive and great for kids! A gift shop on the arena floor sells more corn related merchandise than you can imagine. There is a Corn Palace movie as well as a tour available. I suggest allowing at least an hour for your visit.
The Worlds Only Corn Palace is a distinctive destination that you’ll not soon forget. Corn designs and murals are both inside and outside of the facility. Only natural corn colors are used, and the cobs are split in half to create these designs. These murals are quite intricate. Each year, the corn decorations are removed and replaced at a cost of over $130,000. This is truly a labor of love.
The Corn Palace of Mitchell, South Dakota is a unique budget friendly destination. It is awesome to see a community embrace their past and present. They have successfully used a commodity which may seem ordinary and created something quite extraordinary!