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Three area attractions are in the running for the Silos and Smokestacks People’s Choice Site of the Year. 

Iowa’s Dairy Center in Calmar, Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah and Locust School Museum located north of Decorah are among 11 finalists for the award. 

“Each year, Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) celebrates the best in heritage development by presenting Golden Silo Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate outstanding excellence in preserving and telling America’s agricultural story,” says a description of the award on the SSNHA website. 

Voting ends Sunday

To vote, visit silosandsmokestacks.org. Under “News,” follow the link to “Silos & Smokestacks’ Partner Sites Compete for People’s Choice ‘Site of the Year.’” Voting for the first-round nominees goes through Sunday, March 23. 

The top three finalists will make it to the second round. Voting for the second round lasts from Tuesday, March 25, through Tuesday, April 1. The winner will be announced during the SSNHA Golden Silo Awards Wednesday, April 2. 

Local nominees

Iowa’s Dairy Center is not only a working farm, but a tourism facility where visitors can learn about modern dairy farming. Tours include the milking parlor, free-stall barn for housing the milk cows, special needs barn for calving, the calf barn and Iowa’s Dairy Museum. 

With over 24,000 artifacts and an Open Air Division of 12 historic buildings, the national treasure showcases the best in historic and contemporary Norwegian folk and fine arts, and the agricultural history of Norwegian immigrants. By telling the story of Norwegian immigrants, Vesterheim explores the experience of all immigrants in America. 

Locust School was built in 1854 and operated continuously for 108 years. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Locust School Committee of the Winneshiek County Historical Society was founded in 1965 to preserve the one-room school so generations of students would be able to see a reminder and symbol of all former rural school days. 

Other nominees

Other nominated sites include Strawberry Hill Farm and Garden, Strawberry Point; Montauk Historic Site, Clermont; Living History Farms, Urbandale; Jasper County Historical Museum, Newton; Hurstville Interpretive Center, Maquoketa; Heartland Acres Agribition Center, Independence; Gilbertson Conservation Education Area, Elgin and Calkins Nature Area, Iowa Falls. 

For more information, visit silosandsmokestacks.org.