Holiday tree in Downtown Silver Spring powered by bicycles

- Every year, Downtown Silver Spring features a pretty unique treat for visitors at their holiday tree.

This year, a 35-foot-tall "Good Energy Tree" is being powered by bicycles along with solar panels and a wind turbine at the top of the tree.

At the base of the tree are 12 bikes provided by Capital Bikeshare, which is connected to a generator to provide power to the lights.

Don’t worry. If there is not enough from energy from those pedaling on the bicycles, there is a battery backup system in place, so don’t worry about the tree not being lit up.

After the holidays are over, the bicycles on the tree will go to families being helped by A Wider Circle, a non-profit group that is helping families in need throughout the D.C. area. Also, if you take a picture of the holiday tree or even anywhere in Downtown Silver Spring and post it on social media using the hashtag #ChooseCheer, $1 will be donated to A Wider Circle.

In previous years, the holiday tree at Downtown Silver Spring has been created from brightly-colored umbrellas, toys and musical instruments.

“For the past five years, we have been reimagining the holidays because Downtown Silver Spring is anything but traditional,” said Laurie Yankowski, regional marketing director for Peterson Companies retail portfolio, who oversees Downtown Silver Spring and the art installation. “We honor that and we give back to the community with a tree structure that represents the holidays, represents giving, represents community.”

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