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Horse Happenings Travel United States

Twenty-Five Unnatural Wonders of the Western Roadside: Corn Palace (Mitchell, South Dakota)

September is the best time to come see the Corn Palace, when the exterior wall space on this Byzantine edifice is freshly covered with multicolored corn cobs, oats, barley, sorghum grain, and assorted grasses- all precisely arranges to form immense murals.

The pictures, which are gloriously frames in abstract designs also made from local produce, illustrate a different subject each year, but the consistent theme is the food life in South Dakota: pheasant- hunting, vacation fun, and the like. Above the pictures rise fiberglass minarets painted with images of buffalo. The front of the palace features corn portraits of performers who are headlining at that year’s Corn Festival, onstage in the 3,500-seat auditorium inside. Marching bands have been a big part of the festivities since John Phillip Sousa conducted here, but the star who performed at the Corn Palace most (five times) is the Dakota’s favorite son, Lawrence Welk.

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