By Jennie Zeitler
Since snow dragons are relatively rare, it’s no wonder heads are turning along a stretch of State Highway 71 in Sauk Centre, just south of the Sauk River bridge.
The snow dragon spread out along the street was crafted by Jeremy Weber, who, along with his wife, Sara, owns Taste of Heaven across the street.
He and Sara had asked themselves why there are not more winter activities in town.
“Kids sit around bored and don’t want to go outside,” Weber said.
Weber recalls a conversation with a friend.
“I told him, ‘You couldn’t get me inside when I was a kid. I was building snow forts, igloos, all kinds of different things,’” Weber said. “When I got to college I built a snow sculpture for Snow Week — a six-foot tall micrometer (a refined measuring tool), 12 feet long. We put the dashes and numbers on it.”
Weber got to thinking about the park across the street. There are often snowmen there, but not much else.
“Somebody should just build something,” he said. “Anybody can go play in the park. I decided to go play in the park.”
Last year about this time, Weber spent day and night working on a sculpture of a flower pot.
“It finally got built,” he said. “It was very colorful. People started stopping by and honking their horns before it was even finished, showing their approval.”
The flower pot added vivid color to hazy days and was noticed by many people.
“Everybody was commenting on how long the winter was; it was time to ‘think spring,’” said Weber.
Throughout the past year, people have been thanking the Webers for doing the sculpture. They’ve been wondering about a sculpture for this year.
“Even a couple weeks ago, someone was asking when I was going to do my snow sculpture,” Weber said.
Before going ahead with the project, Weber talked to Sauk Centre Parks and Recreation, city administration and Sauk Centre Public Utilities. He got the go-ahead from everyone.
“I got to thinking about a dragon and making it long,” Weber said. “Why not use a majority of the park? It’s been so cold — I used flames to ‘heat things up.’”
The Webers declared this to be the Year of the Dragon. They designed a poster titled “One Man, A Shovel and His Snowblower.”
They set up a contest on their Facebook page, which was also posted on the Sauk Centre Chamber of Commerce’s page, asking people to guess what the sculpture was going to be.
The prizes were: five snow sculpture-themed T-shirts, two pounds of salt water taffy and a $10 gift certificate.
“Finally, someone guessed a fire-breathing dragon,” Weber said. “The biggest thing has been to just have fun with it. It’s about the joy of making people happy.”
Sara looked out the window one day to see a Suburban stopped across from the unfinished sculpture with the windows open and kids pointing excitedly.
“Finding out how much people appreciate it is why I wanted to do it again,” said Weber.
The approximately 150-foot long sculpture was completed about dusk on Friday, Feb. 7.
Weber especially loves to see his children — Royal, Rylan, Rayden, and Gayle — just light up whenever they see the snow dragon.
“We love the joy and fun that our snow dragon is bringing to Sauk Centre,” Sara said. “This is a great opportunity to explore and help promote Sauk Centre as a whole and put out there for many others to see and enjoy.”
Taste of Heaven is currently sponsoring its second annual book drive, the “Heavenly Gift of Reading.” Help support the Sauk Centre Schools, St. Cloud Salvation Army and the Epilepsy Foundation by donating your new or gently used books.
For more information, call (320) 352-4077.