Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The magic of Faribo Frosty December 19, 2018

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WHEN I POSTED ABOUT #faribofrosty last week, a blogger and reader from Pittsburgh asked for under-construction photo documentation of the mega snowman in the front yard of the Hoisington family home in Faribault.

Well, I didn’t have any sculpting images. I knew only that Andy Hoisington, assisted by other family members, shapes the gigantic snowman by hand, literally, and by shovel. Andy pulls out a ladder (he’s a painter) when Frosty grows beyond his reach. Andy is tall, btw.

All of this handcrafting is quite an accomplishment really given the snowman’s height, which is maybe 15 feet (just guessing here). Magical, you might say.

Visual proof of how Faribo Frosty came to be eluded me. Until Saturday. My 2 1/2-year-old granddaughter was in town for a long overdue overnight stay. And on our list of to-do items was posing for photos with Frosty. Izzy is at that magical age of discovery. Frosty would impress her.

But, when we pulled up to view Frosty, we saw a snowman stripped of his bright red scarf, his top hat, his pipe, his arms, even his face. Not particularly exciting, a blob of snow.

 

Andy and Jake work on Faribo Frosty early Saturday afternoon.

 

Then I remembered the request from Ruth in Pittsburgh to take photos of the snowman under construction. While this was repair rather than an original build, it still documents the process. I rolled down the van window and shot a few frames. Then I asked Andy when he and his son Jake would be done with their work. Frosty was suffering from heat-related issues. Yes, a day of 30-plus-degree temps in December sunshine is not good for a snowman, even one as big as Faribo Frosty.

 

Andy, lead snowman builder.

“Come back in two hours,” Andy shouted from high on the ladder.

 

Grandpa and Izzy build their own Frosty in our backyard.

 

 

Well, that wouldn’t work for us. We had a vintage snowmobile show to attend, a stop at the library for books and then back home so Izzy could build a snowman with Grandpa before making roll-out Christmas cookies. Then we had to get to the children’s Christmas service at church by 5:30 p.m. Frosty would have to wait until Sunday. Izzy seemed fine with that given she could now glimpse her very own snowman from the kitchen window. She refused, though, to pose for a photo. In fact, she told me to “Go back inside, Grandma,” when she spotted me poking my head out the back door with my camera.

 

Izzy gets her first close-up look at Faribo Frosty in Grandpa’s arms.

 

 

 

 

Thankfully on Sunday, Izzy mostly cooperated. She even hugged Frosty when I prompted her. It was a sweet and magical moment. This would be a much better world if we all paused to hug a snowman.

 

 

We fit in our photo shoot before a group of Vikings, and Faribo Frosty, fans arrived. While we were there, drivers and passengers in two vehicles also slowed down for a look. This snowman’s popularity has soared given his new social media presence. He’s making a lot of people happy, including me and my granddaughter.

 

 

Thank you, Hoisington family, for your ongoing efforts to bring holiday joy to the Faribault community. I appreciate you. And so does Izzy.

FYI: Faribo Frosty is located at the intersection of First Street Northwest and Third Avenue Northwest in Faribault (18 Third Ave. N.W. precisely).

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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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

 

Faribault’s all-American snowman January 26, 2016

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Divison Street snowman, 14 with house

 

IN THE YARD OF A CUTE craftsman style house at a busy intersection in Faribault, a patriotic snowman greets passersby. I pass by this sunny yellow home often. On my way to and from church. On my way to and from Minnesota State Highway 60.

 

Division Street snowman, 17 semi close

 

I don’t know who lives at 402 Division Street. But I appreciate the creativity of this snowman. Red and blue votive candles for buttons. American flags for arms. An American flag banner cinched around the snowman’s waist.

 

Division Street snowman, 19, close-up two

 

Even red and blue dye for lips.

This isn’t your average snowman or snowwoman, whichever it may be.

#

Tell me about any creative snow people you’ve seen, even built.

© Copyright 2016 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

 

Oh, the joy of building a snowman February 4, 2015

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RECENTLY, I HELPED my great niece build a mini snowman barely higher than my knees.

I taught 5-year-old Meghan how to roll balls, then how to pack snow so the head wouldn’t topple from the body. She was a quick learner.

Next, I sent her in search of twigs for arms. She roamed a snow-covered hillside, flash of purple against brilliant white.

Then we scavenged for stones for eyes.

Beneath the sprawling bare branches of an aged oak, I plucked fallen acorns for a nose and buttons.

Not the snowman my niece and I built, but rather a gigantic snowman built by the Hoisington family, 18 Third Ave. NW in Faribault.

Not the snowman my niece and I built, but rather a gigantic snowman at 18 Third Ave. NW in Faribault.

Together, with the aid of my eldest daughter, we hodge-podged a face that smiled back at us.

I’d forgotten what simple joy lies in creating a snowman.

In the Hoisington family's Faribault yard, this snowman is sure to make you smile.

In the Hoisington family’s Faribault yard, this snowman is sure to make you smile.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to lift yourself out of the winter blues, to chase away the worries of life, to ease the stress.

To view the world through the eyes of Meghan, who found nothing more delightful than building a snowman on a Saturday afternoon was a gift.

FYI: If the gigantic snowman featured here looks familiar, it’s because last year I photographed an over-sized snowman in this same Faribault yard. Click here to view last winter’s snowman.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

Wisconsin’s version of Frosty the Snowman December 9, 2014

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WISCONSINITES ARE CRAZY about their Green Bay Packers. That I’ve learned in the four years since my second daughter moved to eastern Wisconsin.

From Packers billboards to barn signs, Packers apparel and green and gold brat buns in the grocery store, Packers craziness abounds.

My daughter photographed this display of Green Bay Packers themed holiday items at Shopko.

My daughter photographed this display of Green Bay Packers themed holiday items at Shopko.

You can even find holiday décor promoting this much beloved football team, as discovered by my daughter on a shopping trip to the local Shopko. She couldn’t resist texting an image of Cheesehead Green Bay Packers snowman ornaments.

A clearer image of the Packers Cheesehead snowman from the Green Bay Packers Shop.

A clearer image of the Packers Cheesehead snowman from the Green Bay Packers Shop.

Cheesy or cute? You decide.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Photo courtesy of Miranda Helbling
Second image from the online Green Bay Packers Shop

 

A ginormous Frosty at an historic home February 21, 2014

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Snowman, really up close

FORGET CREATING a mini-sized version of Frosty the Snowman.

Snowman, looking up at

This oversized snowman stands in the Hoisington family’s yard at 18 Third Avenue Northwest in Faribault. My friend John directed me to the snow art last Sunday.

Snowman, from front of house

As impressed as I was by the snowman, I was even more impressed with the house. I love everything about this historic home’s exterior from the front brick pillars topped by lion statues to the sturdy entry columns to the graceful curves to the signature windows. I can only imagine the beautiful interior.

This reminds me of the stately home along Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis.

John, when trying to direct me to the location, referenced the house as Dr. Mc I-can’t-recall-his-name’s home, which meant nothing to me, not being a native of Faribault. I find that historical reference typical of my community. My husband and I, after all, live in “the Swanson house,” even though we’ve owned our home for 30 years.

FYI: This was photographed prior to our two-day thaw of 40 degrees and prior to our Thursday/Friday blizzard.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling