A popular and unique building competition is returning to Knoxville, with the goal of fighting area hunger over the holiday season. Later this month, Messer Construction Co. will present Knoxville’s first Holiday Canstruction competition, which will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center from Nov. 23-Dec. 3. Canstruction is a globally recognized charitable competition where teams of builders use full canned goods to assemble giant sculptures, before displaying them for public viewing. After the competition, the sculptures are broken down and donated to a local charity, which this year is the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee.

The art scuptures will be on display on the third floor of the Convention Center along the Henley & Cumberland Concourses, from Nov. 23-Dec. 3. The exhibition is free and open to the public. The sculptures will be judged on Nov. 25 and evaluated for several categories: jurors’ favorite, structural ingenuity, best use of labels and best meal. A “People’s Choice” award will be selected by attendees’ votes by liking photos of the sculptures on Knoxville Canstruction’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/knoxcan. Winners will be announced at the close of the exhibition.

On Nov. 22, teams will kick off the competition by gathering for a 12-hour build of their structures. The build is also open to the public. To tap into the holiday spirit, the sculptures will all feature holiday themes, such as a Christmas fireplace mantle, sleigh, Santa Claus, nutcracker or snowman. Participating teams include Messer and the Lewis Group Architects; the University of Tennessee Department of Civil Engineering; Massey Group; Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon, Inc.; and Johnson Architecture, Partners Development and Moxley Carmichael.

Each Canstruction structure typically includes between 900 and 3,500 cans, with only one-quarter inch plywood or Plexiglas between the rows of cans and one-quarter inch cardboard tubing for support. The color of the structures is determined by the colors of the cans themselves.

It is anticipated that Second Harvest will receive more than 8,000 canned food items from the sculptures to distribute through the holidays.