|Arlee Bird cornsorting with the corny mascot of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota|
Blogger friends! Lend me your ears! Sometimes I realize I resort to corn on Tossing It Out, but in this post I've got the real thing. There's more than just a kernel of truth to this post--there's a whole bunch of kernels.
In our recent trip across country from New Jersey back to Los Angeles, my wife and I traversed a number of the agricultural states of America's Heartland and were impressed by the farmland we passed on our journey. It was mostly corn fields, but also many other crops that I, being no agriculturist, could not identify. I'm guessing we might have seen a lot of soy, peas, and other plantings. Then there were the vast fields of sunflowers in South Dakota that kept Tina Downey on my mind. If you'll remember, A to Z Team member Tina Downey passed away a year ago on August 23rd and we sorely miss her. Seeing those sunflowers was kind like a tribute in her memory.
Mitchell, South Dakota
|The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota|
If there are any among you who have heard of Mitchell, South Dakota then you are surely familiar with a true oddity of America Heartland legend--"The World's Only Corn Palace". This was one place that we had to stop for as it is a unique landmark.
The Corn Palace is the centerpiece of the city's yearly Corn Palace Festival as well as being the locale of many other festivities throughout the year. The building has a basketball court that is used for local college and high school games and a stage that has featured many name acts in its long history.
|During the peak tourist season the main Corn Palace floor becomes a veritable souvenir department store. That black rectangle in the background is the vast stage.|
In fact yours truly played the Corn Palace a number of times in the 70's and 80's when I was touring with the World of Fantasy Players so I was well familiar with this venue which was another reason I wanted to revisit this world renown facility. They've made a lot of improvements since I was there last. The place looked fine and was bustling with tourists on the Thursday afternoon when we visited.
The most unique feature of the Corn Palace and what gives it its name is that the mural mosaics on the exterior and interior are made up entirely of ears of colored corn and other parts of the corn plants. Each year the old murals are stripped and replaced with new ones. This is a pretty amazing feat that takes weeks of tedious work to complete.
This year's Corn Palace Festival begins this coming Thursday August 26th running through Sunday August 30th. Some of the featured acts this year are Tony Orlando and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. You can still make it if you are so inclined, but I'm not sure about motel availability as the event draws thousands each year.
Durn it all! I just missed it! Shucks!
|My wife couldn't resist the shopping at the souvenir booths on the Corn Palace basketball court.|
|A blog giant posing with a giant of peas. Can you guess who is who?|
Earlier in the day prior to reaching Mitchell, South Dakota we made a quick stop off at Blue Earth, Minnesota. I was actually getting off the interstate to find a place where my wife could buy some Minnesota souvenirs and we happened upon this tribute to the Jolly Green Giant. Blue Earth is home to a Green Giant museum as the city played a vital role in the company's history. Each year in July Blue Earth holds a Giant Days Festival. By the way Blue Earth also claims to being the place of origin of the ice cream sandwich--that's what they say at least.
And now for you Green Giant fans--remember this?
I'd forgotten all about this crazy song from the group that gave us that most notorious version of the song "Louie, Louie" and then even before I got to Blue Earth, Minnesota I heard this song played on the radio. Some kind premonition maybe? Oh, peas...
Have you visited either of these nutty Roadside Attractions? Do you have any unique festivals in or near the community where you live? What is the oddest place you've ever visited?