It’s family tradition

Adam Randell
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Main Brook family building snowmen for 30 years

For the last 30 years the Coates family in Main Brook have been building a Christmas snowman. Pictured, Ed Coates stands next to this year’s creation, which is approximately 10 feet from the ground to the top of its hat.

Ed Coates is five foot 11 inches tall, but he’s a mite compared to the latest creation standing in front of his Main Brook home.

For the last 30 years the Coates family builds a snowman as part of their Christmas celebration.

It’s something Coates calls a family tradition.

“We started doing (the annual snowman) with our children,” he said. “Now the grandchildren expect it so we keep building them.”

Standing more than 10 feet from the ground to the top of his hat, Coates said the latest creation is something his grandchildren look forward to.

“Seeing Nan and Pop’s snowman for Christmas is always a treat for them,” he said.

But it’s quite the production to get the snowman in shape for Christmas.

Building the behemoth snowman is something that takes half-a-day to complete.

Coates said he used a crate during the construction of this year’s snowman, adding it packs the snow allows easy carving.

“Some years are good for rolling and you don’t have to use the crate,” he said.

But 10 feet high was plenty for Coates. He said it’s amongst the largely they’ve attempted.

“Once you get 10 feet high, it’s hard to get the snow up there,” he said.

From there the chiseling and shaping takes place.

When everything is just right, their snow buddy gets a hat made from a five-gallon bucket, a face, scarf, broom and a spruce pipe to puff on.

With winters being milder than they use to be, Coates said some years are harder than others to scrape together enough snow.

“The rain can be a big problem too,” he pointed out. “We’ve built and had to rebuild, but I don’t think we missed a year without a snowman for Christmas.”

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