Holiday tree lighting kicks off season downtown

Jon Taylor (right), one of the creators of the holiday tree, talks about the concept. His partner, Karl Unnasch, is on the left. Photo by Mike Diegel.

Downtown Silver Spring launched its annual Re-imagining the Holidays event Saturday with the lighting of this year’s holiday installation, the Good Energy Tree.

The 35-foot public art piece features multicolored, illuminated bicycles designed to promote the benefits of cycling.

The installation, the fifth one created for the event by Karl Unnasch and Jon Taylor, is powered in part by solar panels and a wind turbine at the top of the tree, as well as bicycle power.

Capital Bike Share and Montgomery County Commuter Services provided 12 bikes that people are encouraged to pedal to generate power to help illuminate the tree. The bikes are also connected to USB ports so riders can charge a cell phone or other device.

All the bikes on the tree will be donated to A Wider Circle after the holidays.

The artists also installed sculptures handing from the ceiling of the breezeway between the Wayne Avenue garage and Ellsworth Drive. The sculptures, sourced from bike rehabilitation programs, include various wheels, gears, pulleys and frame parts that revolve in choreographed arcs. Multi-colored plexiglass panels are interlaced into the spokes and lit from above to create patterns projected onto the floor.

The Good Energy Tree. Photo by Mike Diegel.


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