The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-place of the world”. They currently use 13 different colors or shades of corn to decorate the Corn Palace: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange, calico, yellow and now they have green corn! Each mural is framed with native grasses, straw, milo, and sourdock. A different theme is chosen each year, and murals are designed to reflect that theme. Ear by ear the corn is nailed to the Corn Palace to create a scene. The decorating process usually starts in late May with the removal of the rye and dock. The corn murals are stripped at the end of August and the new ones are completed by the first of October. It costs $130,000 annually to decorate the Palace.
Locals take great pride in the Palace's "corn-septual art" and "ear-chitecture" (Mitchell isn't called the Corn Capital of the World for nothing).
The re-designing process actually begins several months before the corn crops are ready in late-August. A Corn Palace Committee meets to decide on the theme, the artist then plans her designs for each mural, and the images are projected and drawn onto black roofing paper that replaces the previous year's murals as they are removed from the building. The designs are marked with a code as to where each different color of corn should go, and the decorating crew nails the appropriate colors of corn flat-side to the building. It's kind of like a giant corn-by-number project!
The Corn Palace has one more title – “The World's Largest Bird Feeder”. After Corn Palace Week ends and winter sets it, local pigeons and squirrels make a feast of the tasty murals.