I spent a week in South Dakota: Mitchell. Sioux Falls, Faulkton, Jamestown, Freeman, Aberdeen are some of the places I visited. My first impressions of this State: billboards, lots of billboards - I wondered if anybody ever reads them all. Then there are fields and fields of corn - some still a lush green and some crisp and brown. Because of the heat and lack of moisture instead of gleaning golden kernels this year, plows will flatten the shriveled stalks. For most of our stay in SD the temperture hovered near a sizzling 40 Celsius/105 Fahrenheit! One day I overheard someone announce: "It's not going to be so bad today, only 98." Sorry, my foggy brain just couldn't get excited about that forecast. But I did come away with a renewed appreciation for water, air conditioning and light, flat flip-flop style sandles.
Mitchell boasts the world's only Corn Palace. Every year, this structure is redecorated with corn and grain along with a new theme. Inside are food vendors selling popcorn of course, among other incredible edibles. There's also a large gift shop with every imaginable corn themed thing you can think of: t-shirts, caps, corn candy, lollipops, popping corn, blankets.....
As we were leaving we met the very friendly Cornelius.
The reason for our trek into this hot spot, was a Jill Eggleton conference at the University of Sioux Falls. Jill is all about 'Lighting the Literacy Fire' and no doubt inspired all 200 + attendees. We have been using some of her methods and books in our school for a few years now and are looking forward to implementing her writing strategies as well.
One of the Sioux Falls attractions are the historic Park Falls. Each evening for about a month or so there's a sounds and light show at this location. We decided to take it in one day and the only disappointment was that we weren't able to capture all of the beautiful lights on the falls. All lights in the area are turned off as laser lights shine and change colors on the falls. Along with the light show we got a Lewis and Clark history lesson. Very interesting!