While there are interesting things to do and see in Mitchell other than visiting the Corn Palace (things I shall post on shortly), there is a definite focus on corn in town. After all, there are other places with good museums and interesting archaeological sites, but there is only one Corn Palace.
The first thing I noticed, as I rounded the corner on my first visit to the Corn Palace, was that the decoration cast into the base of all streetlights is an ear of corn.
Across the street from the Corn Palace, there is a gift store that has displays about how the murals are created. In the open courtyard area adjacent to that gift store, there is a large, cheerful ear of corn named Cornelius. I was told that almost everyone who comes to Mitchell gets their photo taken with Cornelius, and even as I waited for a chance to take an unobstructed view of this corny mascot, I was repeatedly asked to take photos of visitors posing with Cornelius (which I was, of course, happy to do).
So the Corn Palace may be the corniest thing in town, but clearly the whole town appreciates what this iconic and historic building has meant, not just in terms of tourism, but in its representation of the agriculture that built and sustains the region.
And if you have any interest in visiting the Corn Palace (it’s right off the highway, so easy to access even if you’re just passing through), you can get more info on their website: http://cornpalace.com/