I've been thinking about how good South Dakota seems to be at this whole tourism thing. A state known for its wide open spaces, many of their attractions have literally come into existence by making something out of nothing, then convincing people it's worth seeing. This goes for 1880 Town, the Corn Palace, even for Mount Rushmore (which we won't be seeing, alas). And it certainly goes for the town of Wall, which we'll be passing through tomorrow morning. More on that then.
In a way, I guess any tourist attraction has this element of marketing wrapped up in it. But so many of the attractions around where I've spent my years were there before they were attractions. That's the difference. But this isn't to speak ill of how things are here. I'm happy to buy into it, at least while I'm passing through. The prairie dogs I fawned over today, for instance, were actually an "attraction" that was part of a gas station and convenience store. "Come see real prairie dogs for FREE" billboards had declared for miles in the kitschy style so much here has. I wonder about the degree of irony, if any, involved in all this. It probably doesn't matter - those operating these places want the people who find the "Dances With Wolves" exhibit hilarious as much as they want those who find it impressive. $9 is $9, after all.
"All this said, South Dakota certainly doesn't forget its open spaces. More on that in my next post.
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