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Corn Palace to host pre-Sturgis event

The Corn Palace and Mitchell's Main Street will rev up with motorcycles once again this August.

Mitchell's tourist stop will host a Main Street party for motorcyclists heading west for the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally on Aug. 2. The event was discussed by members of the Corn Palace Events and Entertainment Board Tuesday at Mitchell City Hall, but no official meeting or business could be decided because the meeting lacked a quorum.

About 400 riders are already expected for the event and that number could go up significantly, said Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt.

"If everything works out, we could be expecting as many as 1,000 riders here," Schmidt said.

The event will happen with the cooperation of Brian Klock, the owner of the Klock Werks custom motorcycle business based in Mitchell. Schmidt said Klock regularly hosts numerous motorcyclists on their way to Sturgis at his business and offered to move the event to Main Street to allow more community members to check it out.

The event is expected to have some similarities with the Geico Hot Bike Tour that visited Mitchell on Sept. 10, 2015. That event included a bike show, music, vendors and demonstrations.

Schmidt said officials hope to block off the area between Fourth and Seventh avenues on Main Street to allow for motorcycle parking, while setting up live music and food trucks downtown.

Visitor numbers

Schmidt reported that summer season visitor numbers are down for May and early June.

A 2017 period from May 1 to June 12 reported 54,862 visitors to the Corn Palace, while the same time period this year had a count of 48,936. That includes visitors to events at the Corn Palace during that time and also summer tourists visiting the exhibits and gift shop.

Schmidt said he wasn't totally sure why the Palace has seen the drop in visitors so far this year because there is less construction in the area of the Corn Palace and most of the construction this year in the Burr Street area is south of the Interstate 90 interchange. He noted the facility seemed to have less bus visits so far this year.