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Three brothers continue their tradition of crowd-pleasing, giant snow sculptures — and this time it’s for charity

NEW BRIGHTON -- If giant snow octopi could talk, here's what the one that lives at 2777 16th St. N.W. in New Brighton might say:"Whoa, who are all these people?" guessed 20-year-old Trevor Bartz, one of the three Victor Frankensteins behind "Octa...

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Austin (left), Connor and Trevor Bartz (bottom) pose Saturday with the snow sculpture that took them 500 hours to make in New Brighton. This is the fifth year that the Bartz brothers have made a snow sculpture, and it is the first year that they have a donation box to raise money for clean water in Haiti. Holly Peterson/Pioneer Press

NEW BRIGHTON - If giant snow octopi could talk, here’s what the one that lives at 2777 16th St. N.W. in New Brighton might say:
“Whoa, who are all these people?” guessed 20-year-old Trevor Bartz, one of the three Victor Frankensteins behind “Octavius the Octopus,” the towering frozen sea creature sprawled across his parents’ front yard.
“Or, ‘Wow look, I’m alive!’ I don’t know … maybe something like that,” he said, clearly uncomfortable putting words into the Bartz brothers’ latest snow sculpture’s gaping mouth.
The surprised expression was an intentional creative decision made by Trevor, Austin and Connor Bartz for their fifth and biggest work of winter art.
Since 2012, the brothers, who range in age from 17 to 21, have spent their holiday breaks collecting snow from around their suburban neighborhood and piling it into a giant mound in their front yard. Then - after letting some of the powder get sticky in their heated garage - they mold their bright white medium into various sea creatures. Each sculpture takes about 2½ weeks of grueling 12-hour days to make, Trevor Bartz said.
The first - Puffie the Pufferfish - made its debut in early 2012. That was followed up with a walrus, then a shark and last year a turtle.
Standing 18 feet high and 35 feet wide, Octavius - named by fans on Facebook - was unveiled Friday. The Bartz yard has been Grand Central Station since.
“I’d say we’ve had about 4,000 to 5,000 people here so far,” Trevor Bartz said. “There’s usually about 10 to 20 people in our front yard all night.”
One excited young fan asked the three brothers for their autographs during her recent visit. She then reportedly cried happy tears the whole way home, according to her mom’s post on the brothers’ Facebook page.
“We all loved it,” Austin Bartz, 21, said of the exuberant reaction. “It’s cool that so many people can come out and enjoy it. … We love to see the joy it brings to the neighborhood.”
The community’s appreciation for the finished product keeps them at it, Austin Bartz said. He added that he expects he and his brothers have at least one more up their sleeves.
“We are going to keep going as best we can. I graduate from college in a few years, though, so that might change things,” Austin Bartz said.

To give
The Bartz brothers are raising money to provide clean water to people living in Haiti. Donations can be made at a drop-box set up near the sculpture or by clicking on a link on their Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1SKt6zt .

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

2255149+011216.N.STP_.SNOWMAN2.jpg
Austin (left), Connor and Trevor Bartz (bottom) pose Saturday with the snow sculpture that took them 500 hours to make in New Brighton. This is the fifth year that the Bartz brothers have made a snow sculpture, and it is the first year that they have a donation box to raise money for clean water in Haiti. Holly Peterson/Pioneer Press

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