Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Faribo Frosty is back, snow or not December 9, 2020

Father and son, Andy and Jake Hoisington, build Faribo Frosty Saturday afternoon.

WITH NO SNOW LAYERING the local landscape, I didn’t expect Faribault’s famous Frosty the Snowman to make his annual pre-Christmas appearance yet.

Faribo Frosty has become a holiday icon in my community of Faribault.

But there he was, standing tall and proud in the Hoisington family’s front yard at 18 Third Avenue Northwest Saturday afternoon.

Jake, left, arrived from Mankato to help his dad build Faribo Frosty.

Debbie Hoisington was photographing the work crew as they finished sculpting the snowman from 21 trailer loads of snow/ice sourced from the Faribault Ice Arena. As I paused to chat for a moment, head snowman builder Andy Hoisington noted that Faribault needs Frosty more than ever this year due to COVID-19. I agreed.

Throughout the months Frosty stands in the Hoisington’s yard, Andy will continue to maintain Frosty, especially when he begins to melt in warm, sunny weather.

I thanked him and his family for the joy they bring to others, 2020 marking the 11th or 12th year of Faribo Frosty accenting their Faribault yard. They’ve lost count. The over-sized snowman draws families and others for memorable photo ops and has become a community holiday attraction.

Done for the day. I think.

For Andy, part of the joy also comes in working side-by-side with his family. As I watched on Saturday, he and his 34-year-old son, Jake, scooped snow from a trailer toward the ground around Faribo Frosty.

My granddaughter hugging Faribo Frosty. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo December 2018.

Snapping my final frames, I said, “I’ll be back with the grandchildren when they’re in town.” And I will. It’s become a tradition to see Frosty and pose for photos.

NOTE: Be sure to wear face masks and social distance as needed when visiting Faribo Frosty.

© Copyright 2020 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

From Faribault: #faribofrosty December 12, 2018

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BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME. The kids. The moms. The dads. The grandmas and grandpas. To see Faribault’s version of Frosty the Snowman.

 

 

Late Saturday afternoon, as day glided into the golden light of early evening, family after family pulled over at the corner of First Street Northwest and Third Avenue Northwest to take photos with a ginormous snowman created by the Hoisington family. It is their annual holiday gift to the community, a gift which brings lots of smiles and joy.

 

 

I witnessed that as kids and families posed for pictures with the towering snowman in the Hoisingtons’ front yard.

 

 

 

 

They came in their Paul Bunyan buffalo plaid and fur caps and hats, some with ear flappers, some not. They came in their boots and sneakers, their jeans, some ripped, some not. They came to see this towering snowman popular enough to now have his own hashtag, #faribofrosty.

 

 

I delighted in these families making memories on a cold December day in southern Minnesota.

 

 

Faribo Frosty embodies the spirit of giving. Faribo Frosty embodies the spirit of joy. Faribo Frosty embodies a sense of togetherness, of family, of community.

 

 

For a moment or ten, a snowman focuses thoughts and vision and the world seems a magical and happy place.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Frosty returns to Faribault February 7, 2018

 

FOR ME, WINTER in Faribault wouldn’t be winter without the ginormous snowman standing in the front yard of an historic home at 18 Third Avenue Northwest.

 

 

Here the Hoisington family has crafted a giant Frosty for the past nine winters, first acquiring sufficient additional snow from church parking lots and now from the Faribault Ice Arena. This year’s snowman came to life in early December, although I sidetracked to view it for the first time several days ago.

 

 

I’ve seen and photographed this towering snowman for three, now four, years. Still, I react the same—with a broad smile. There’s something about a snowman, no matter it’s size, that recounts the winter fun of childhood. And that’s a good thing to remember when I tire of the cold and snow in the Bold North.

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Click here to see my 2014 blog post on this snowman.

Click here to read the 2015 post.

And click here to read the 2016 post.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Snowmen, then & now January 25, 2016

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The Hoisington family's 2016 snowman.

The Hoisington family’s 2016 snowman.

FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, I’ve photographed the over-sized snowmen sculpted in the Hoisington family’s yard in the heart of Faribault at 18 Third Avenue Northwest.

 

Snowman, 11 head close-up

 

This year I braved double digit below zero windchills on a bitterly cold Sunday afternoon to document a sculpture that brings me joy.

 

Snowman, 10 close-up

 

A snowman hearkens to carefree days of childhood, when I actually loved winter. It brings memories of laboring with my siblings to roll snow into monumental balls. Three snowballs stacked atop each other to build our version of Frosty.

Snowmen and snow days. Snowdrifts hard as granite. Snow bucked into piles by Dad behind the John Deere tractor and loader. Imaginary mountains upon which we raced as Canadian Mounties.

Boots crunching on snow, the sharp sound slicing the quiet of the Minnesota prairie. Noses dripping. Cheeks flaming red. Fingers numbing through too thin gloves.

These are my winter memories, elicited by photographing a snowman.

What are yours?

FYI: Click here to view last year’s snowman pix. And click here to see my photos from 2014.

Check back tomorrow to see another notable snowman gracing a Faribault yard just blocks from the Hoisington snowman.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling