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Schilling inducted in Fairs, Celebrations Hall of Fame for SD

Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling has been honored for his dedication and service to the annual Corn Palace Festival held each August in Mitchell.

Schilling was inducted Saturday into the South Dakota Fairs and Celebrations Hall of Fame during the association's annual convention in Rapid City.

Schilling was nominated by Corn Palace Assistant Manager Janice Peterson and SDFC Executive Secretary Janet Lehman.

"It was a great honor," Schilling said. "It's one of those things where you're surprised to be selected. You look at some of the names and people that have done it for many years, and you've seen what they've given, and it's an honor to be considered in the same category."

Annual festivals like the Corn Palace celebration and other fairs throughout the state are vital, Schilling added.

"It's community pride. It's that one time of year when people get together. People will plan their vacations and trips to come here. That's the real key."

Schilling said that each year, he looks to see how he can involve more people in Mitchell's annual celebration.

"A big part was starting the art exhibit at the Corn Palace Festival," he said. "We got back to some of the roots of why we have the festival each year. It's about the corn and the harvest."

In addition to Schilling's induction, Veryl Hohn was selected as one of the volunteers of the year and Lance Carson was chosen as events person of the year. Both are from Mitchell.

"(Our celebration) wouldn't happen without the staff and volunteers like the Veryl Hohns and Lance Carsons," Schilling said. "All of them make the event run smoothly."