My thanks to Alyson Kluskowski for posting some pictures she took at Wall Drug, which just happens to be competing for tourists with the Corn Palace…oh, and that one other famous landmark…maybe you’ve heard of it…Mount Rushmore.
Don’t know why this South Dakota tourist attraction is proud to proclaim itself as “The World’s Only Corn Palace”…like the world needs more than one? Also, it saddens me that over half a million people stare at decorated corn each year, which is nothing compared to the 2 million (!) who come to the kitschy drug store. First of all, why are that many people even going to South Dakota? Second, I bet the majority of those visitors haven’t visited a “real” museum in years. Support the arts, people and not a bunch of stupid tourist traps. But I sound like a hypocrite, because I’d probably be tempted to go to these places too. I mean, that’s what this blog is about.
A few things to know about the castle of kernels and wall of drugs - over 275,000 ears of corn are used in the redecorating of the palace each year, Lawrence Welk played here five times (ohmigod! who?), about 150 basketball games are played each season by the local high school team the “Mitchell Kernels”, and birds spend a lot of time eating all that delicious corn. I guess they need to change the name to “World’s Largest Birdfeeder”.
And the Drug Wall? Besides giving away over 20,000 free cups of water per day, Wall Drug also provides 5 cent coffee (I’m sure it tastes like crap) and free bumper stickers to visitors not embarrassed to put that shit on their cars. Here is a souvenir from a place that’s not real! Yeah! But the drug store has more than just touristy stuff and cowboy boots to spend your hard-earned dollar on, there is also a western art museum and a chapel based on one found in Iowa. Huh? Iowa? You’ve got to be kidding me.
And don’t ask me what a giant animatronic dinosaur has to do with a drug store, but I’m guessing maybe they died out because they were eating too much corn. So watch out, America! Corn subsidies will one day bite you in the ass.