Share story

Rachel is one big pig. And piggy bank. Given her girth, she’s not that heavy at 550 pounds, 200 less than her namesake who won at the 1985 Whidbey Island County Fair. Sculptor Georgia Gerber created the bronze mascot in 1986 for the Pike Place Market Foundation. The foundation likes to say she’s been “bringing home the bacon” for 32 years since installation below the market clock. About $20,000 is raised yearly mainly with coins, and people leave currency from around the world in the slot just behind her head. Monies collected help support a food bank, clinic, senior center and preschool. A source of constant attention and photo opportunities, visitors like to stand beside Rachel with the more adventuresome climbing upon her back. Children stick fingers in her mouth and explore her nose. All that attention keeps her shiny. About 150 bronze hoofprints lead to her, each 4½ by 3 inches, set in concrete with three lines of personalized engravings. They cost $5,000. Small fundraising pins are for sale in the foundation’s office for $10. Patricia Gray with the foundation says Rachel “saved lives” in 2011 when a taxi careened into the market and struck Rachel, injuring her and knocking her off her foundation. But, the taxi did not plow into pedestrians behind her. The vehicle had been rear-ended and the driver hit the gas. The Associated Press reported “she took one on the snout.” Billie the Pig is a companion piece, seated in the new addition to the west in the market. One of the market’s estimated 10 million visitors a year left a love letter to Rachel from another bronze pig, Philbert, who lives in Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. She answered his love letter. Now they’re pig pen pals.