Underneath it all, the Mitchell Corn Palace is a pretty standard civic auditorium building. People go there for basketball games, concerts, exhibits and community events of various sorts.
Corn cob murals grace the
walls of the corn palace.
What sets it apart are its decorations: there are giant mosaic murals made with cobs of colored corn on two sides on the building, and those murals are framed with assorted other local grains (including rye, sour dock, milo and other various grasses.) Depending on the year and the arrangement of the grains, it can be a shaggy building or a closely cropped building. And the theme of the murals changes every year too.
The Corn Palace is a big box of a building, and the current structure, the third palace, was originally built in 1921, with several serious renovations since then. It’s different every year and now has various bright turrets and colorful onion domes on top that make it look a bit like a “palace” from Eastern or Northern Europe.
Every year the folks in Mitchell celebrate their unusual building with a festival. It used to be at harvest time, but now it’s earlier, usually in late August, so they can lure more summer tourists and still get some big name acts to come and perform. When we were there in 2003, Willie Nelson was one of the headliners.
During the Festival, you could buy
a fresh cob of roasted corn, dipped
in butter, and eat it in front of the
Corn Palace. A quintessential
MITCHELL CORN PALACE
601 North Main Street
Mitchell, South Dakota
Tourist Information: 605-996-5031