Category Archives: Recognizing Greatness

Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village awarded 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Recognized as a Top Performing Museum/Attraction as Reviewed by Travelers on the World’s Largest Travel Site

The Prehistoric Indian Village in Mitchell, South Dakota has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide.  Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account reviews ratings.  Businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, volume and recency of reviews. Additional criteria include a business’ tenure and popularity ranking on the site.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Cindy Gregg, executive director. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our museum and our continued commitment to excellence.”

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honor exceptional hospitality businesses for consistent excellence,” said Marc Charron, President of TripAdvisor for Business. “The Certificate of Excellence award gives top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers. From Australia to Zimbabwe, we want to applaud exceptional hospitality businesses for offering TripAdvisor travelers a great customer experience.”

For more information about the Prehistoric Indian Village, contact:

Cindy Gregg, Executive Director
Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village
3200 Indian Village Road
Mitchell, South Dakota 57301

Mitchell’s ‘Friend de Coup’ a Community Treasure

Dozens of performers, singing, dancing, and playing instruments in a concerted, professionally choreographed, award-winning effort to entertain and inspire hundreds of audience members. Sound like a show you can’t miss? You’d be right – and the surprise is, these are high school students. If you’re looking for something to do in Mitchell, look no further. Friend de Coup, Mitchell’s High School Show Choir, is a community treasure and a great way to kick cabin fever when South Dakota winter kicks in.

Each year these students work hundreds of hours perfecting their vocals, their instruments, and their choreography to bring home the hardware – dozens of trophies for their consistently award-winning shows. Friend de Coup travels the country each spring to compete against show choirs from across America, and does not often come home empty-handed. For good reason – check out this year’s competition set (link will take you to YouTube):

Friend de Coup 2014 Comp Set

More than just lining the High School hallways with trophies, Friend de Coup also entertains the community by putting on several community shows each winter. This starts around the holidays with their ‘Up With Show’ performance, which serves as a holiday-themed show as well as a fundraiser for the costumes, equipment, and travel their competition season demands. In January, before hitting the competition trail, a free performance is given to the community to show off their set before taking it on the road. The season closes with Dinner Theatre, featuring multiple compilation performances as well as many individual/small group performances. These ‘specials’ are an opportunity to see (and hear) the incredible talent percolating in the high school hallways. And, of course, dinner is served.

Additionally, several show choirs from around the state and country troop to Mitchell each March to perform in the Mitchell Show Choir Classic, a premier show choir competition held at the World’s Only Corn Palace. This show is open to the public, and fans can come and go as they please throughout the day. The morning typically consists of preliminary performances, with finalists repeating their set in the afternoon. Friend de Coup, as hosts, perform their set as an exhibition piece while the judges compile the day’s scores, and by evening a new champion is crowned. For those who love live music, song, and dance, the Show Choir Classic is a day that can’t be beat.

There’s always something new to discover in Mitchell! If you happen to be near town next winter, make it a point to discover one of Mitchell’s greatest treasures – Friend de Coup.

Hunting More Than Pheasants

There has been a lot of talk recently about the decline in pheasant population in the Mitchell area, and it’s impact on hunters visiting our great city. The Daily Republic ran an excellent report on the various stakeholders involved, and it’s clear that there is no easy solution. Farmers and landowners have no obligation to forgo profit to provide bird habitat, nor should they be forced to. Pheasant hunting, it seems, may decline in eastern South Dakota – and with it, the economic boost it provides to our communities.

But like many products, hunting is not dependent on only one factor. Our birds may be playing hard-to-get (or hard-to-find), but I’m not convinced that hunters come to Mitchell exclusively for the ring necks. They’re simply a catalyst, a symbol of so much more.

Mitchell is a city that loves to play host. We open our arms wide for visitors – whether they come to see our excellent attractions, watch our phenomenal athletic teams, participate in our events and festivals, or hunt pheasants. Like Lumiere sang in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, “Why, we only live to serve!” Mitchell is at it’s best when we’re helping others enjoy our city. And hunters know it.

Chamberlain has the most birds in the state; this is not a trend I see changing anytime soon. For hunters who are after birds and birds alone, Chamberlain is the place to go – and I have no problem admitting this.

But if you want more? Well, as the saying goes, it’s Mitchell more than ever. Our hunters know it’s not just about limiting out (though that’s nice too). It’s about the tradition; the hospitality; the rustic pampering; the getaway; the evening after the hunt; the memories; the stories you’ll tell. And for that, we await you.

Mitchell is home to the most hunting guides, the most hunting dogs, and the most hunting lodges in all of eastern South Dakota. We offer a range of lodging options, from campgrounds to plush hotels. Our dining options run the gamut from customized filed lunches to fine restaurants, and our nightlight provides variety your entire hunting party can agree on. And, of course, we have exceptional hunting outfitters!

Let us be your escape; your home from the field. Let us help you create your favorite traditions, and craft the stories you’ll tell in the years to come. In Mitchell, pheasant hunting is a legacy you can live. Because you may hunt for birds. But hunting is the ‘more’ that only Mitchell can offer.

Trash, treasure, and what makes a great community

It seems that we’ve all had that moment: the moment you realize that something very important is not where it should be. For one recent visitor, that “something” was a wallet! All is well that ends well, however, and due to some great customer service and the spirit of helpfulness characteristic of Mitchell the owner and wallet were reunited. The full story, as told by The Daily Republic, can be found here:

ABA Names Corn Palace Festival a Top Event

Mitchell may be seeing more tour buses stopping by the Corn Palace next summer. The American Bus Association has named the Corn Palace Festival one of the top events for group travel in 2013 in their annual “Top 100 Events” publication. The Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau, an ABA member, nominated the event.

“This is a great award for a great event, and is a fantastic spotlight for the Corn Palace, the festival, and for Mitchell,” said CVB Director Jacki Miskimins. “Bus travel is a core component of Mitchell tourism, and this award speaks directly to group travel planners. On top of that, the publication listing also mentioned our other Mitchell attractions – money can’t buy that kind of exposure!”

Mark Schilling, Corn Palace Director, is also very pleased. “It’s quite an honor being selected. We’re very proud of the tradition we have with the Corn Palace Festival dating back to 1892.” Schilling added that the 2013 entertainment line-up will be coming soon. “We always offer something for everyone, and for bus groups we can be flexible with group rates to our shows.”

The American Bus Association is a trade organization representing the intercity bus industry. Its annual compendium “Top 100 Events in North America” features the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Events are chosen by a panel of member bus and tour operators, and winners are published in a special supplement to Destinations, ABA’s magazine.

“Mitchell is a popular stop for group travel, because we’re so accessible from the Interstate and the Corn Palace is a free attraction. Being named a top event for group travel is a huge honor, and will likely help our group numbers in the years to come,” Miskimins said.

According to CVB records, Mitchell has received over 180 tour buses each year for the past four years. In 2011, there were over 200. “Those numbers are just the buses that schedule ahead and let us know they’re coming; many more show up unannounced, and of course we’re happy to see them.” Miskimins added. “With this award, hopefully we’ll see an increase in our bus traffic next year. The more folks we can get to enjoy Mitchell and the Corn Palace Festival, the better.”

The Mitchell CVB will be representing Mitchell as a group travel destination at the ABA’s annual conference January 5-9, 2013. “We hope to capitalize on this award when we meet travel planners in person. It definitely helps us stand out.”

The 2013 Corn Palace Festival will be held August 21-25. The Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival, held Sept. 28-30 in Custer, SD, is the only other South Dakota event selected for the award.