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Festivus display at Illinois Capitol

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Festivus display at Illinois Capitol

Lake Forest student put up pole

By Steve Schmadeke | Chicago Tribune reporter

8:07 PM CST, December 24, 2008

The debate over religious displays in the Illinois Capitol's rotunda took a farcical turn this week when a student at a Lake Forest boarding school put up an aluminum pole to honor Festivus.

For those in the dark, Festivus is a mock holiday popularized by a 1997 episode of "Seinfeld." The pole is a Christmas tree-like symbol, and semi-ironic celebrations of Festivus, usually observed on Dec. 23, include such traditions as the "Airing of Grievances" and the "Feats of Strength."

Michael Tennenhouse, 18, said he was home in Springfield on winter break, taking in impeachment hearings at the Capitol, when he came across a nativity scene, a menorah and an atheist group's display in the rotunda. The exhibits have stirred up controversies, all of which struck Tennenhouse as silly.

"This is grown adults arguing about something nobody could really prove," he said. "Religious displays should not be in public buildings."

So Tennenhouse filled out an application to put up the Festivus pole ("the lady burst out laughing"), which was approved the same day.

Tennenhouse found a blue aluminum pole (Festivus poles are to be "unadorned") that was part of a pool skimmer and stuck it in a Christmas tree holder.

Dan Zanoza, chairman of the Springfield Nativity Scene Committee, said the state's decision to allow the pole was "unfortunate."

"Festivus is nothing—it means nothing, it represents nothing," he said. "At least the atheist sign had a viewpoint."

There is no part of this that isn't funny.

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Finally, Festivus is getting recognized!...;) At work we have a Christmas area with George's dad proclaming 'Happy Festivus'.

Here's George raising money for people.


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Good stuff.... :)

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Fun....for 5 years in Denver I celebrated Festivus with a party at a friend's house...lots of drunken Canadians, feats of strength (drunken guys pushing a Jeep down the street), and at midnight capped by the throwing of a fully decorated tree off of 2nd floor balcony. Fun times.

Enjoying a quiet Xmas with family in Ohio now..30 degrees and sunny today. Will be flying back to Phoenix Sunday..

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