The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 3, 2014

Farmer creates granddaddy of a snowman

GILMAN (AP) — A farmer in central Minnesota has created a towering tribute to winter's excess.

Greg Novak says he's invested hundreds of hours to build a 50-foot snowman named "Granddaddy" that he hopes will wake onlookers from their winter doldrums. And he admits it has some neighbors questioning his sanity.

Granddaddy began to take shape earlier this winter when the Gilman farmer needed to move mounting snow piles away from his greenhouses.

"As long as you're moving it, might as well do something practical with it," Novak said.

Friends and family pitched in to help with Granddaddy, or to do farm chores while Novak worked on building the snowman. Novak used skid loaders to pile snow and a silage blower to direct snow into stacked cylinders, the St. Cloud Times reported.

Gerald and Diane Harbarth were among the amused onlookers. They drove more than 70 miles from Brownton to get a look at the mammoth snowman.

The Harbarths learned about Granddaddy on a television news report, but craning their necks to see it in person was something else entirely.

"This is unreal," Gerald Harbarth said.

For Novak, that was the whole point of creating Granddaddy.

"It puts a smile on people's faces," Novak said. "When people smile, you know you've done a good thing."

Granddaddy is but a mere child compared to efforts in the small community of Bethel, Maine, in 2008. Residents there claim the world record for the tallest snowperson, a 122-foot snowwoman named Olympia after the state's then-U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.

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