The L.A. Times quoted from an editorial I wrote in its piece today on the Corn Palace and other such roadside attractions. The piece examines the struggle that such attractions face in their attempts to stay relevant. Here’s an excerpt:
… Times and tastes have changed since the Corn Palace gained fame in 1892, and there is concern about dwindling visits to the attraction, which is key to the economy in this southeastern South Dakota town of 14,500. In a September editorial, the local newspaper, the Daily Republic, called for a “new incarnation” of the venue, which was built as a means of encouraging farmers to put down roots in the region.
“In today’s world, an arena with corn on it is less interesting by the year,” it said, in a rare public criticism of the landmark. The Chamber of Commerce has a special committee dedicated to coming up with a plan for revamping the Corn Palace, whose exterior murals made entirely of corn are changed yearly to reflect a different theme â€” the bicentennial and the space race, for instance â€” and attract new visitors.