Meet Rachel & Billie the Bronze Piggybanks – the mascots of the Market Foundation!
Rachel the Piggy Bank – Pike Place Market’s original mascot and bronze piggy bank – has been standing proudly beneath the Market clock ever since 1986. She was installed to raise money for the social service agencies in the Market, as part of the Market Foundation’s mission to nurture a thriving Market community.
In 2011, Rachel was joined by her ‘cousin’, Billie. Last year, these porcine princesses collected nearly $20,000 in currency from around the world — and they’ve raised more than $350,000 in their bronze lifetimes!
Take a trip to the “Pig Pen” with us as we explore the beginnings of Seattle’s most infamous pigs!
Meet Rachel – the Market Foundation’s mascot since our beginnings
Rachel the Piggy Bank gets her name and look from a real pig named Rachel – a 770-pound behemoth and the 1985 prize-winning pig at the Island County Fair. Rachel was a neighbor of sculptor Georgia Gerber, and led to the design behind Rachel the Piggy Bank’s sculpture. “There was this huge neighborhood pig just down the road from us on the island,” says Georgia. “She was a well-known family pet and my inspiration for Rachel.”
The bronze Rachel the Piggy Bank has been the constant connection between the community mission of the Foundation and the millions of Market visitors for over 30 years. She serves as landmark, model, mascot and inspiration. In 2007, to celebrate the Year of the Pig and the Market’s Centennial, Seattle bore witness to the Pigs on Parade campaign – 170 fully-decorated life-size pig sculptures, each a replica of Rachel or Billie. Some of these art pigs still adorn the Market’s rooftop during the holidays, as swinedeer, and a keen eye will spot two others in the Market: Clockwork, above the awning at the Sanitary Market; and Pork & Beans, who lives inside just above the front door inside Starbucks.
As for the real Rachel on Whidbey Island? She would go on to live to a ripe old age, and go down forever in Pike Place Market history.
Meet Billie – our newest Piggybank and mascot of the Pike Place MarketFront
On the evening of February 2011, Rachel the Piggy Bank stood bravely against an out-of-control taxicab. She was knocked off her base and suffered a large crack and sizable dent, but she held her ground enough to stop the cab from toppling the support beam that holds the Market pergola. Sculptor Georgia Gerber brought our wounded mascot back to the island for some R&R and repair. Rachel’s triumphant return came with a surprise guest – a gorgeous second bronze piggy bank in tow named Billie!
Billie the Piggy Bank became the mascot of the Pike Place Market Foundation for the Pike Up! campaign, in which thousands of Seattleites came together to help fund the new MarketFront expansion. Through Billie’s undeniable charm, she and her team at the Market Foundation raised more than $9 million to expand Pike Place Market for the first time in 40 years.
Billie also proved that pigs CAN fly! She received her big moment in the spotlight when she took flight via a construction crane to make her new home on the MarketFront. She stands proudly there today to welcome new and old friends to Pike Place Market – and to help her infamous cousin raise funds for the social services at Pike Place Market!
Next time you visit Rachel & Billie, donate whatever you can to show your support for the Market community!