Last year, Sauk Centre store owner Jeremy Weber built a flowerpot snow sculpture in the park across from his gift shop, with a "Think spring" theme.
This year, the bitter winter cold inspired him – that, and a recent viewing of a "Harry Potter" movie.
"This year, it is just so cold, I thought: What could I do that would really heat things up?"
Enter the dragon.
Weber, 38, earlier this month spent about 75 hours crafting a 145-foot-long, fire-breathing snow dragon, he told BringMeTheNews. After using a snow-blower to pile up his medium, Weber used little more than a shovel and handsaw to carve the beast, which is about 13 feet across and nearly 10 feet tall. The flames and the tail took some special sawing, he said.
Then he painted it with a sprayer.
"I wasn't going for a record. I just have a park to play in and I went from one end of it to the other," he said.
Weber estimated that thousands of people – a constant stream all day long this month – have stopped to check out the dragon and snap photos.
Weber also created a snow sign for his Taste of Heaven store in front of the dragon, which has irked a few locals who view it as a commercial promotion in a public park.
But it wasn't a publicity stunt, Weber said. He wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper explaining that, while lots of folks have stopped in to thank him, few are buying. Business at the shop, stocked with goods from Minnesota crafters and artists, is as slow as it often is this time of year.
"This was just to liven up the park and show children that you can still get out in the snow and play. Put down your computers and your iPads and just have some fun," he said.
Here's a few more pics from Weber: