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Sculptors turn snow into art in mall parking lot


MASSENA — A vehicle stands vertically, its headlights pointed at the sky, in the middle of the St. Lawrence Centre Mall parking lot, and next to it an 8-foot bass.

The four-by-four-by-eight-foot snow sculptures attracted crowds and drivers who slowed down to get a better look Saturday as the sculptors were still chiseling away.

Dan W. Green, his brother Tom and their friend Shayne A. Charlton drove up from Watertown Saturday morning and got started on one of the four blocks of snow.

Outfitted with garden tools, homemade sanders, steak knives and machetes, the artists spent the day creating their extra-large mouth bass.

“We enjoy it, but when you see kids and adults go by and see the smiles it just makes it worthwhile,” Dan Green said.

Filing away at the car parked next to them were Andy A. Rabetoy, Watertown, and his father Ross L.

“It’s a family car and it’s even got a roof rack,” Andy Rabetoy said.

Ross Rabetoy has been snow sculpting in Northern New York for 20 years.

“I started out when my children were little and I go out on the front lawn and make Snoopy, which was easy to do,” he said. “One day I made a swan and pretty soon it was in the paper.”

He then went on to win competitions at Snowtown USA, Watertown, and even participated in national competitions twice in Michigan, according to his son.

“Once you get into it, it becomes a hobby and you get to liking it,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and the general public enjoys it, which makes you feel good.”

The mall’s maintenance crew built a frame out of plywood and used a pay-loader to fill it with snow and pack the snow down.

Ronald J. Patnode, St. Lawrence Centre marketing manager, said he wasn’t sure if the weather would cooperate for a snow-sculpting contest this year, as it thwarted their attempts last year.

“We wanted some sort of winter event to tie in with the Massena Winter Carnival,” he said. “This year, we received the snow last week, but since it’s been so cold the snow was very dry. Since it needs to be a certain consistency to be packable we weren’t sure if we would be able to do it this year.”

The cold temperatures didn’t stop the two teams from Watertown from spending the day outdoors.

Mr. Patnode said the mall did provide sculptors with a warming room inside where they could take breaks.

Employees from the Auntie Anne’s shop in the mall made up a third sculpting team who carved one of the blocks in the shape of an Auntie Anne’s product.

Mr. Patnode said snow sculpting was a great choice because they have the space for it right near the mall’s main entrance so shoppers can enjoy the sculptures.

“It’s fun for the sculptors and also a good spectator event as well,” he said. “It’s for the community to come over and watch them sculpt and view the final product.”

The final sculptures will remain on display until they melt, Mr. Patnode said.

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