Monday, December 13, 2010

Corn Palace

Took in a few more sites in South Dakota. Checked out Petrified Wood Park, in Lemmon, SD. The park is slightly eerie in its resemblance of a petrified forest, with strong evidence of years of hard labor apparent. A hundred conical structures are spread throughout the park, with some standing up to 20-feet tall.

Checked out yet another concrete jackalope, this one in Mitchell. Except it is all jack and no lope. It no longer has antlers. The totem pole is pretty cool, however.

I stumbled upon a Happy Chef in Mitchell. Something about the Happy Chef haunts me. What's with his bowlegged stance? And that crazed expression? Then it hit me; this is a statue of a crazed man who suffers from rickets, has beaten the kitchen staff at the local sanitarium, stolen a chef hat and spoon and is racing to freedom, arms pinwheeling in lunatic joy. Don't you agree?

Mitchell is a prairie town that is corn crazy and proud of it. Mitchell's high school sports teams are the Kernels. Its local radio station's call letters are KORN. And it's home to the "agricultural showplace of the world," the Mitchell Corn Palace.

The Palace, with its mad mix of onion domes and minarets, looks like it was drop-kicked out of czarist Russia. It was originally built to show off the fertility of South Dakota soil - and it's remained on the job, standing in downtown Mitchell for over 75 years.

This street light is not quite the right shade...

Mitchell's Corn Palace is built out of reinforced concrete, not corn. Every spring, however, its exterior is completely covered with thousands of bushels of native South Dakota corn, grain, and grasses that are arranged into large murals. Sorry I missed that. I would have liked to have seen my likeness in corn. Though the aquamarine would be a challenge.

Today's beer, in tribute to the Corn Palace: Miller High Life, which is supposedly made with lots of corn.

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