Rachel is a very cute landmark in Seattle and the unofficial mascot of the famous Pike Place Market—a big, fat, happy-looking pig statue that greets you as you enter the market. Follow the bronze hoofprints set in the sidewalk from the Market Information Booth.
You can feed this pig, but she’s not your run-of-the-mill animal as she only takes money! She is a bronze-cast piggy bank that weighs 550 lbs (250 kg) and has been located at the corner of Pike Place under the “Public Market Center” sign since 1966. It seems that everyone wants their picture taken with, or on, Rachel so it’s sometimes hard to get near the statue, but people are just having fun. She’s also just in front of the “Flying Fish Stall”, which draws a huge crowd. No, it’s not actually flying fish, but fish that the vendors throw through the air, from the display to the counter, to be wrapped.
Rachel was designed by local artist Georgia Gerber and modeled after a pig (also named Rachel) that lived on nearby Whidbey Island and was the 1977 Island County prize-winner. Rachel receives about $6,000-9,000 each year in almost every world currency. This is collected by the Market Foundation to fund the Market’s social services.
Rachel provided the theme for the Pigs on Parade fundraiser (modeled on the famous Cows on Parade in Chicago and other cities) that was first held in 2001 and again in 2007 for the Market Centennial, which happily happened to coincide with the Chinese Year of the Pig.
One wonders why a pig was chosen for this statue—is it related to happy over-eating, as there sure is a lot of food in the market? Whatever the reason, the market is a lot of fun and finding Rachel is part of the tradition now. Go and give her a pat! I did! (see below).