By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Snowmen are a staple during any Minnesota winter. You’ll see them in front yards and schoolyards.

But Frosty has nothing on what you’ll find in Faribault. That’s where the Hoisington family has been building a mega snowman for more than a decade.

This year, the Faribo Frosty is more than 20-feet tall.

After the holidays, it’s hard to find anyone who’s actually looking to pack on the pounds. But the tall guy with the top hat and permanent grin who lives on Third Avenue needs to keep his weight up, so he doesn’t fall down.

“One thing I’ve noticed is you can never be in a bad mood when building a snowman,” Andy Hoisington said.

Andy, his wife Debbie and their five kids are behind the legendary Faribo Frosty. Fifteen years ago, they started small, and then suddenly their snowmen hit a 20-foot growth spurt. But perfecting a giant didn’t come easy.

“Some years he was a snow blob. Years ago he looked like E.T.,” Debbie said.

For Andy, the answer to maintaining a mega-structure through freeze and thaw could be found at his neighborhood ice arena. Once a week, a Zamboni driver loads him up. Then he hauls his trailer back home where he assembles with care, climbing a ladder and administering a sort of Botox — or “snowtox” — to Frosty’s face.

“It’s one handful at a time all winter long,” Andy said. “It’s probably taken me 100 hours so far. He’ll gain 500 pounds today with a trailer full.”

Debbie says she provides moral support to effort.

(credit: CBS)

“I don’t like cold weather, so I’ll knock on the window and say, ‘Hey, thumbs up. Nice job,’” Debbie said.

But that’s not to say that Debbie doesn’t help.

“I made the scarf. That scarf is 30-feet long. And I made the mittens. I drink a lot of coffee, so I can supply coffee lids for the eyes,” she said.

Throughout the years, he has been a “Skolman” for the Minnesota Vikings, and support for people who need it. He’s seen marriage proposals and pregnancy pictures. Ms. Minnesota even decided to stop by one year.

Knowing that the inevitable will happen when spring comes, kids of all ages make Faribo Frosty a part of their winter. And for Andy, it’s not just about making a snowman — it’s about making memories.

“People might ask, ‘Why do you build that big of a snowman?’ My thought is, why wouldn’t I? I get a chance to build a snowman with my kids. Now my adult kids. Here we are, hanging out, building this snowman, and it’s an honor to me,” Andy said.

Funny how something made out of snow and ice can make people feel warm inside.

“Andy’s whole purpose of doing this is to spread joy because everyone needs that,” Debbie said. “It’s just amazing watching people drive around the corner, stop, start laughing and taking pictures.”

Debbie says that it gets pretty wet in their front yard in the spring, and Andy will try and Frosty last as long as he can. She says she has to sing the “Frozen” song “Let It Go” to get him to stop.

John Lauritsen

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