A dad can show his love for his daughter in a lot of different ways -- sometimes they get creative.
An example of this started showing up in the form of a unique kind of snowman back in 2016 in front of Tate Dunkel’s home on Renova Lane at Oak Springs Park.
“Maybe it brings a smile to some people’s faces,” Dunkel said.
For Tate Dunkel, there’s no man like a snowman. And for his daughter, Juniper, Tate would do just about anything to build her the best one.
“My daughter really got a kick out of Frozen,” Dunkel says. “She watched it over and over, so I made her the giant Olaf. I couldn’t really believe the response that it got.”
This was back in 2016: a massive snowy model of Olaf the singing snowman.
“It was like one of the first times my daughter stood up,” Dunkel says. “It was really wild to see that. I was out here by myself and I was lucky to have the camera with me.”
Juniper has special needs and the idea was simple: Olaf would greet her out her window.
But then years later in 2020, 12-year-old Samuel Stewart, Tate’s neighbor, wanted to bring the towering sight back to Oak Springs Park.
The two point fingers at each other for credit.
“He got the idea and we drew it up and built a form and started building it,” Stewart says.
Stewart also adds it took the duo six days to complete, working two hours each of those days.
“I think Sam did about this much of the snow shoveling,” Dunkel says, holding his hand up near the top of their latest project, an Easter Island Head.
Just rolling by Sam and Tate’s big snow structure, you might think it’s just like building a snowman.
But judging by how sturdy he is and just his size, it’s a bit more of a process. He’s almost twice the height of Stewart and each layer is about 1,000 pounds of snow.
“We calculated 5,000 pounds,” Dunkel said. “1,000 pounds per layer.”
The two worked as a tag-team, shovel by shovel.
And their Easter Island Head even glows in the dark, something that while Tate’s daughter enjoys, his son even gets a kick out of.
“Every night, Dad, I want to see the big scary head and he comes out like this,” Dunkel says, peeking between his fingers over his face.
It’s a tradition that keeps on giving, from smiles in the community to the faces of his children. “If people look at it and smile, then mission accomplished,” Dunkel said.
Tate says the big head in the park might not be alone for long. Stewart’s and his next idea: build a few more Easter Island heads near him.