ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The beloved tumbleweed snowman made his seasonal debut on Tuesday, Dec. 1. However, this year, he looks a little different.

“We have him masked up this year so he’s practicing his social distancing and the wearing of the mask and so it’s been a tough year for many people and we hope this brings some cheer to people as they travel along I-40,” said Nolan Bennett, field engineer with the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority.

The snowman is put up every year by the AMAFCA and is perched along I-40. The tradition began back in 1995, making this year the 25th anniversary of the snowman.

According to AMAFCA, the snowman has increased in size over the years and currently averages about 12 to 14 feet tall, about eight feet wide and is made up of just three tumbleweeds. He is decorated with recycled materials and his eyes and mouth are made of scrap metal.

The snowman’s nose is a broken ax handle, his hands are work gloves, his hat is a 55-gallon drum. His scarf is knitted by the mother-in-law of one of the AMAFCA’s maintenance crew members.

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