MITCHELL, S.D. - The 2017-2018 theme for the Corn Palace murals is South Dakota Weather. Each mural is dedicated to some type of weather event in the state. There are nine total murals that show a windy day, a child sledding during the winter, or a tornado.
The lead decorator for the murals, Dan McCloud, said the decorators are about a week behind schedule because of the drought. He was worried he wouldn't even get any corn. Then, the rain came but some of the colors on the corn still didn't turn out as he wanted. Waiting this late in the year also makes it harder to decorate.
"The later in the season, the corn gets dry. When we first start doing the corn, it’s nice and wet; not wet but moist, and it’s soft and pliable. You can take it and cut it off, split it in half. That’s how we get it on the wall," said McCloud.
He said they use 375,000 pieces of corn for all nine murals. There are 1.5 million nails used to hold the corn and eight workers getting it all done. McCloud said even though they are decorating in the cold, it's all worth it and rewarding in the end.
This is also the first time in two years the murals have been redone. The city decided to skip a year of decorating to try to save some money. The corn became dilapidated and just didn't look good, so the director of the Corn Palace said they won't skip another year.
"The excitement of seeing tourists come in and even people from other cities- when they come in for games, the excitement of the new murals, that’s usually a conversation starter," said Scott Schmidt, the director of the Corn Palace.