ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque roadside tradition is back along I-40, ushering in the unofficial start to the holiday season. For every car that passes along the freeway, it’s hard to miss the three giant tumbleweeds, stacked on top of one another into a massive snowman. While it’s the city’s unofficial symbol of the holidays, Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority says it serves a bigger purpose.
“It’s amazing how three tumbleweeds, the interest that it generates,” said Nolan Bennett, a field manager with AMAFCA. “The tumbleweeds come from our jurisdiction so they come from our waterways, our arroyos.”
Everything on the snowman is recycled, from the ax handle nose to his scrap metal buttons and frame. They’re items Flood Control often finds clogging up our arroyos and waterways and they hope the snowman will serve as a larger-than-life reminder to clean up trash when you see it.
“The hat’s an old 55-gallon drum, the nose is an ax handle, the gloves are old, used gloves. We use old scrap metal for the base and the eyes and the mouth, so it’s really a recycling affair,” said Bennett. “I’m really stressing to people if they like the tumbleweed snowman, keep litter out of our waterways.”
Also new this year, Flood Control says the snowman looks a bit different. Bigger tumbleweeds were hard to find, so the 10-foot spectacle is sporting a ‘trimmer’ figure.
“Last year he was a little bit plump so this year he’s been on a diet, a little bit trimmer,” said Bennett.
You can see the tumbleweed snowman along westbound I-40, just east of the University exit. It will be up until Jan. 2.