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OUR VIEW: Palace Festival change was needed

An overhead photo of the city of Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

The Mitchell City Council decided earlier this month to hold the Corn Palace Festival carnival in a new location, moving further north on Main Street.

That decision was good for the immediate future of the event, allowing 2019 to be a trial for what the carnival should look like for the 2020 event and into the future. The council also wisely decided to defer to the carnival provider on the set up and location of rides and games.

There was one part of the conversation that should be the focus for Mitchell leaders going forward. That was to make the festival bigger, and in turn, better. We agree, as much as funding and manpower will allow.

Making the festival carnival itself bigger is a good start. The trends show a steady decrease in revenue for the city of Mitchell with the carnival over the past 10 years. Something different has to happen for the carnival to potentially grow it in the future.

It's important to the city and its citizens that each part of the festival is as profitable as possible, and this will give the carnival portion that chance.

But ultimately, citizens should want the Corn Palace Festival to thrive in every way. Opportunities to make the entire event larger should also be welcomed. It's a five-day chance to show Mitchell off, and we need to impress the out-of-town folks who visit.

So many of the challenges that the festival faces are out of its control. There's more opportunities for entertainment, whether that's at home or even in a person's pocket, with everything a cell phone can do. The encroachment of the high school and college football seasons earlier into August provides more competition for the stage shows at the Corn Palace, and it appears unlikely that a change in date — either into July or further into September — is possible or makes enough sense.

At the same time, the pleas to make use of areas further south of First Avenue also make sense. It's not on the same scale but the area around The Depot has worked well for the annual Memorial Day in Mitchell celebration and for other events. No ideas should be off limits or scoffed at, especially if Mitchell wants to bolster one of its favorite traditions.

That starts with the carnival. If there's ever a time to try out a new format, this is the chance. We need a change—the downward trend is obvious so we need to try something new.