Danny W. Green will head out in the cold this weekend, armed with an array of saws, chisels, hammers and whatever else it takes to turn a block of snow and ice into a sperm whale, giant squid or octopus.
Joined by his team, Mr. Green and another group of snow sculptors will work their magic along Washington Street as part of a Watertown tradition that dates back to Snowtown USAs heyday.
Watertown was known throughout the state for snow sculpting, said North Country Arts Council President Michael C. Miller, who is organizing the display.
The pieces of icy art will be completed over the next couple of weekends in front of City Hall, the Jefferson County Historical Society museum and the Watertown Daily Times building.
The Arts Council is sponsoring the event and has been working with the city Parks and Recreation Department.
The event was originally going to be featured at Snowtown USA, a six-day winter festival held a month ago, but cold and icy weather postponed the display until now, Mr. Miller said.
Adams resident Klaus Ebeling, a Jefferson Community College professor emeritus and award-winning snow sculptor, said that late January and early February usually produce the best snow for the activity.
Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Erin E. Gardner said she planned to hold it whenever the weather cooperated, even if it was not during this years resurgence of Snowtown.
When it finally snowed, we were going to have it, she said.
Recently, a Parks Department crew placed a series of 8-by-5-by-5-foot wooden blocks in front of the buildings. The crew used a payloader to fill them with snow and then packed it down with a metal tamper.
The snow blocks are the same ones used when Snowtown USA generated big crowds during the 1980s and 1990s.
Mr. Ebeling, his granddaughter Elisabeth Juczak and some of her friends from South Jefferson High School, Parker Leikam, Kelsey Lomber and Danielle Dillon, completed a sculpture in front of the Watertown Municipal Arena last weekend.
Sculptors will start out with those blocks of packed snow. It will take hours to complete. But Mr. Green, 51, predicts that this weekends projected temperatures are perfect for carving, he said.
I do it because I like the expressions on peoples faces, said Mr. Green, a local graphic artist who began when he was involved in Snowtown USA about 20 years ago.
Over the years, the Watertown native has completed about a dozen pieces, but took a break from the activity when he lived in the South and got involved in sand art.
To get ready for this weekend, Mr. Green, his 9-year-old son, Taylor W., brother Thomas W. and friend Shane A. Charleton participated in a snow sculpting competition last Saturday in Massena.
I know what I want to do, but conditions change, Mr. Green said, adding that he will be ready if it does.
The Arts Council president said Mr. Green, Mr. Ebeling and friend Jerry S. Merrill put Watertown on the snow-sculpting map. With their interest, Watertown hosted state competitions.
And Mr. Miller said he hopes that kind of interest will return.
I didnt know anything about it, but Klaus has mentored me, he said. Hes taught me a lot.