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Funky 'Festivus tree' in Silver Spring features kitchenware

"Festivus Tree" in Silver Spring (ABC7)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (ABC7) -- It might only be mid-November, but it's already beginning to look at lot like Christmas in Silver Spring. However, the tall structure being decorated there this week is not a Christmas tree.

It's being referred to as a Festivus tree. And it's getting a lot of attention. Many visitors are baffled by the 35-foot tall behemoth.

Each year, for the holidays, Peterson Companies - which manages the Downtown Silver Spring plaza - commissions a tree art installation.

Minnesota artist Karl Unnasch calls his latest work "Well Seasoned Greetings."

"For me, it's a sculptural form that I get to play with," he said.

In 2013, his piece Playtime Jubilee featured toys that were later donated to children. Last year, Silver Symphony featured musical instruments that were later donated to students.

The theme this year is Foodie Festivus, with organizers encouraging donations to the local Manna Food Center.

Peterson Companies Regional Marketing Director Laurie Yankowski said, "There will be a bin here in front of the tree all season long and over at [the Silver Spring] Whole Foods as well."

When complete, the tree will feature more than 200 feet of utensil tinsel, 150 pieces of glassware, 100 spatula snowflakes and 30 giant take-out containers that will serve as lanterns.

"And then the bottle topper on top is made from 80 beer bottles. And that's going to twinkle as well," said Unnasch.

So far, the reviews have been positive. Once they figure it out, most visitors seem to like the tree and this non-traditional holiday tradition.

Silver Spring resident Yolanda Mazyck said, "For this space, because it is so diverse, it's such a diverse area, this is different. So I think it fits."

Unnasch hopes to finish the project Thursday. A tree lighting ceremony will be held Saturday night.

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