Artists building bike-powered holiday tree in Downtown Silver Spring

By November 7, 2017Community Impact, Events, In the News

On Tuesday, crews continued to work on the holiday tree in Downtown Silver Spring.

“I had never seen the tree with a layer of turf or sod under there, so it caught my attention,” said Donice Knight, who was walking through the area on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.

Later in the week, the artists creating the tree say the “Good Energy Tree” will likely grab a lot more attention.

“They say, ‘Oh! What is it going to be this year?’” Said Karl Unnasch, one of the artists. “And we tell them, give them a little hint, maybe tease them a little bit, and then they walk away with a big smile on their face.”

Unnasch says he and his partner, Jon Taylor, have been putting together the holiday tree in downtown Silver Spring for five years now.

“Still fits!” Unnasch smiled, as he strapped on his tool belt.

This year, they are focusing on a renewable energy theme.

“We get to set things up in an array that, you know, people can see from afar so it draws people in like a huge beacon,” he said.

They plan to have Capital Bikeshare bikes at the base of the tree. Peddling the bicycles will light up different sections of the tree. It’ll also provide energy to charge phones.

“You can pedal the bikes to light the tree? That’s really cool!” Said Sojella Ayaba, a Silver Spring resident.

“We’ll see this from way down the street,” Unnasch said, lighting up one of the bikes.

The tree will also have solar panels throughout and feature bicycles decked out in lights. After the holidays, the bikes will be donated to area families in need.

“You’ll see a wind turbine on top with colorful projected lights on that,” Unnasch said.

They are also decorating a breezeway near where the tree stands.

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