Drought may affect Corn Palace decorating new murals - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Drought may affect Corn Palace decorating new murals

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The Corn Palace will soon find out if it too, is a victim of the drought.

Every year, the tourist attraction in Mitchell chances it's murals by fall.  But this year, the annual Corn Palace tradition might be in jeopardy.  KSFY News went out to the farm where the Palace gets its colorful corn kernels to decorate its murals.

At Wade Strand's farm, corn usually comes in many colors, red, orange, blue and the multi-colored calico.

"If these were the four colors that we were banking on, we can see that there's not going to be the ears that we're going to need to decorate the corn palace," said Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling.

Schilling said decorating this year's mural may be a challenge.

"It's going to limit out color palette that we'll have available to us and dampen some of the murals that we were looking at doing and some of the design work we were trying to do," Schilling said.

Mitchell's mayor Ken Tracy says he's disappointed by what he saw.

"We would like to be able to offer to our visitors, a change in the scenery of the murals each and every year, and it doesn't look like this year we're going to be able to do that," Tracy said.

For Farmer Wade Strand, he has yet to realize the severity of the drought.

"I guess it really hasn't sunk in yet, just because we had a good year last year, so we had some money in the bank, paid inputs on the crop, but it'll sink in come fall, when the checks just aren't as big as we'd like to think they are," Strand said.

Finding a rainbow of colors in the sea of brown cornfields may seem impossible, but all hope is not lost yet.

Schilling says the artists may have to go back to the drawing board.

"So now it's going to be up to look at our murals that we have, work with out artists and see is there other ways to redesign those murals that will make them look good," Schilling said.

These dry cornfields give the staff at the Corn Palace a lot to think about.

Tomorrow is decision day.  The Corn Palace will make its decision if it has enough colors for new murals, redesign the murals or keep the current ones in place.

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