Wagner Celebrates Fifth Anniversary of Festivus Poles®


Introduced in 2005, Demand Continues for Festivus Centerpiece

Milwaukee, WI - The Wagner Companies is celebrating it's fifth year of selling Festivus Poles® -- an aluminum tube used as a centerpiece for those who celebrate the "Seinfeld" inspired holiday of Festivus.

Tony Leto, Wagner Executive Vice President of Sales, reported that, "When we decided to start manufacturing Festivus Poles here in our Milwaukee manufacturing facility in 2005, we expected to sell a few, get some publicity and have some fun. Since the introduction, we have sold over 6,500 Festivus Poles. That may not seem like a lot but our primary business is selling metal and that equates to 15 tons of aluminum sales."

Festivus Poles are now available in three sizes. A full size floor model, a shorter table-top version and a newly added mini Festivus Pole which is part of "Festivus In A Box". All Festivus Poles are manufactured in Milwaukee.

"While the 6 foot Festivus Pole remains very popular, we found that many people didn't have room for our larger Festivus Pole and were interested in a smaller version for use in their office or as a center piece at their holiday dinner", reports Wagner spokesman Tony Leto. "'Festivus in a Box' provides a simple solution while providing all the accoutrements and information someone would need to celebrate the 'holiday for the rest of us'."

The Festivus Pole is the centerpiece of the Festivus celebration made famous in a December 1997 episode of the television program "Seinfeld" titled "The Strike". In that episode, the fictional Frank Costanza, played by Jerry Stiller, tells of how he invented the holiday when his children were young and he found himself in a department store tug-of-war with another Christmas shopper for a doll. "I realized there had to be a better way," Frank recounts.

According to Mr. Costanza, the Festivus tradition begins with a bare aluminum pole, which Frank praises for its "very high strength-to-weight ratio." The unadorned aluminum pole is displayed in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, and because the holiday's creator, Frank Costanza, "find[s] tinsel distracting."

Mr. Leto explains how he came upon the idea for manufacturing Festivus Poles in Milwaukee.

"Having grown up in New York and gone to college with Jerry Seinfeld, I was always a big fan of the show. In December, 2004, I read an article in the New York Times by Allen Salkin that touched on how the fictional Festivus was starting to take hold in various parts of the country. The specifications noted for Festivus Poles were certainly something we could meet so I registered the domain name 'festivuspoles.com' for possible use later. Then, in October 2005, I happened across a copy of Allen's newly published 'Festivus, The Holiday for the Rest of Us'. The timing seemed right and we went into production. Milwaukee seemed like the perfect manufacturing location for Festivus Poles since it is a city that shares the Festivus Pole's 'very high strength-to-weight ratio'. It has also been a fun project for us since it is a step away from the architectural and industrial metal products we would typically produce."

In addition to Festivus Poles, the celebration includes two more components: "The Airing of Grievances" and "The Feats of Strength."

"The Airing of Grievances" takes place at the Festivus dinner. Each participant tells friends and family all of the instances where they disappointed him or her that year.

During "The Feats of Strength" the head of the family tests their strength against one participant of the head's choosing. Festivus is not considered over until the head of the family has been pinned to the ground. A participant is allowed to decline to attempt to pin the head of the family only if they have something better to do instead.

Orders for Festivus Poles may be placed online at www.festivuspoles.com.

The Wagner Companies has been in the metal business since 1850 as a manufacturer of handrail fittings and metal products for architectural and industrial applications. The Wagner Companies is made up of R & B Wagner, Inc. and The J. G. Braun Company. The main product lines include: Architectural Catalog, Architectural Custom and Industrial Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products. Wagner offers laser, waterjet cutting, bending, stamping and finishing capabilities, and CAD design service. Wagner has a large inventory of raw materials and over 7,800 stock items in steel, brass, bronze, aluminum, and stainless steel. For further information on The Wagner Companies, go to www.wagnercompanies.com or contact The Wagner Companies at 888-243-6914.

Contact: Heidi Bischmann
The Wagner Companies
P.O. Box 423
Butler WI 53007-0423
Phone: (414) 214-8383
Fax: (414) 214-8324
hbischmann@mailwagner.com
www.wagnercompanies.com
www.festivuspoles.com

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