Internet's ‘Corn Kid’ visits 'World's Only Corn Palace' in South Dakota

Dominik Dausch
Farm Forum
Tariq "The Corn Kid" hoists his Cornelius the Corn statue into the air while standing in front of the Mitchell Corn Palace Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. South Dakota and the city of Mitchell both named the day for the boy after a Recess Therapy video showcasing his love of corn went viral on social media the prior weekend.

MITCHELL — Within a week, Tariq "The Corn Kid" went from eating corn, or a "big lump with knobs," as he famously termed the vegetable in the Recess Therapy video that launched his internet fame, at a picnic bench in New York to receiving an invitation from the state of South Dakota to tour its very own Corn Palace.

Despite some initial logistical hiccups, he and family members arrived Saturday in Mitchell, where the state Department of Tourism and locals welcomed the young boy with a cornucopia of offerings and celebratory gestures.

As part of a ceremonial press conference, SDDOT Public Relations Director Katlyn Svendsen designated Tariq an official South Dakota Corn-bassador and read an executive proclamation on behalf of Gov. Kristi Noem that declared Sept. 3, 2022 as "Official Corn-bassador Tariq Day." His title also came with a corn-bassador trophy, and a miniature statue of Cornelius, the Mitchell Corn Palace mascot.

More:Corn Palace is surprised by the announcement of a possible 'Corn Kid' visit to South Dakota

South Dakota Tourism Public Relations Director Katlyn Svendsen tells some "a-maize-ing" puns to Tariq "The Corn Kid."

The city of Mitchell pitched in multiple buckets of fresh corn and bags of popcorn for Tariq and his family to take home. Mayor Bob Everson also proclaimed the day as "Tariq-Corn Kid" Day for the city and thanked the young boy for sharing his love, knowledge and excitement for corn in a separate proclamation.

"Cheers for corn!" Tariq said, speaking into a microphone before a gathered crowd. "Thanks for being here all of you."

Jessica, Tariq's mother, told the Farm Forum their family felt welcomed to the state but admitted they had never heard of the Corn Palace until after the invitation to visit.

"As soon as he came out of the car and he saw it, he said 'This is the Corn Palace? This is amazing!'"

Executive proclamation declaring Sept. 3, 2022 as "Official Corn-bassador Tariq Day."

Jawshawn, the boy's father, added they were surprised by the educational elements of the trip — he and Tariq enjoyed learning about the state's history and corn's role in the agriculture industry.

The parents withheld their last names for privacy reasons.

"We just really wanted to celebrate Tariq and his family and his love of corn, and there's really no better place to do it than The World's Only Corn Palace," Svendsen said. "We take our hospitality seriously in South Dakota. It really just kind of gives you that warm, good feeling, so we're just blessed that they agreed to come to South Dakota and do this with us. We couldn't be happier that they're here."

Mitchell proclamation designating Sept. 3, 2022 "Tariq-Corn Kid" Day.

Dominik Dausch is the agriculture and environment reporter for the Argus Leader and editor of Farm Forum. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook @DomDNP and send news tips to ddausch@gannett.com.