The rise of the snowmen
Though it's the start of snowman season, this massive fellow made of round bales of hay at Dodge Farms in New Boston will likely outlast them all. (Nancy Bean Foster/Union Leader Correspondent)
THE FIRST snowstorm of the season has come and gone, and with more of the white stuff on its way, the season of the snowman has officially begun.
For the next few months, the population of New Hampshire will jump exponentially as kids, and a few grown-ups here and there, get outside and build folks out of snow. In New Boston, there have been plans to create a "Snowman Alley" downtown near the gazebo in celebration of the town's 250th birthday, but Recreation Director Mike Sidoni said that it's going to take the right kind of snow to make the event possible.
"The light, fluffy snow we got over the weekend isn't good for making snowmen," said Sidoni. "It's not good packing snow."
The folks at Dodge Farms just up the street seem to agree with Sidoni's assessment, and instead of waiting for the sticky snow to fall, have used three bales of hay stacked high to make a snowman that will last all winter — and probably well into the summer too.
"Everything's a family effort for us," said Claire Dodge. "We make stuff for the snowman out of whatever we have handy."
An old wooden wheel is the snowman's hat, a traffic cone serves as his nose, and he has branches for arms.
"And I crocheted the red scarf around his neck," said Dodge. "We figure he gives people a reason to smile on their way to and from work."
Most people believe that heavy, wet snow is the best for creating snow people, but Greg Grady, who creates snow and sand sculptures for events and competitions, said any snow will work with the right techniques.
Grady said the secret is to take a cardboard box, rest it on the ground, and pack it with snow a little bit at a time, being careful to tamp each layer down. Once full, the box can be slid off, leaving a perfect block of snow that can be carved or shaped into a snowman or anything else folks want to make.
Grady said that with light, fluffy snow, it's a good idea to let the snow freeze in the box overnight so that it all sticks together nicely.
In Bedford and Laconia, the recreation departments are making fun out of building snowmen. Jane O'Brien of the Bedford Recreation Department said that beginning on New Year's Day, there will be a month-long contest to see who can build the best snowman.
"All people have to do is submit a picture of their snowman and our judges will pick a winner," she said.
In Laconia, a similar contest began on Dec. 1 and will run through March 1, said Asst. Director Amy Lovisek."You can make as many as you want between now and March," she said. "And adults can participate too. It's all about getting outside and being active."
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