July 23, 2001
Alex Kircher (l) and her friend Jackie Mador the "Pop Fly Pig".
'Pig on Parade'
by Deborah Stone
Seattle has been going hog wild these days with its Pigs on Parade arts celebration and charity benefit, featuring 200 fiberglass pigs formed in the likeness of the Pike Place Market's beloved piggybank, Rachel.
Each pig was decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a business or family.
Artists used a variety of materials to adorn the pigs, from blown glass to found objects, incorporating various paint styles, etchings and printmaking techniques.
The pigs debuted in May with a kick-off parade and then they were placed throughout downtown Seattle, where they continue to draw the attention of both locals and tourists who flood the city streets during the summer months.
At the end of the summer the pigs will be auctioned off, with the proceeds to benefit the Pike Place Market Foundation and through it, much-needed programs for low-income seniors and families in the Pike Place Market neighborhood. Although the contest to design a pig was geared toward adults 18 and older, a few exceptions were made in the selection process.
Thirteen-year-old Alex Kircher, of Woodinville, entered the contest on a whim, along with her sister and stepsister.
She said, "It really looked like a lot of fun and a neat opportunity to do something creative, but I never expected to win. I also thought that I wouldn't be considered because of my age, but my sisters and I decided to send a letter along with our designs mentioning that maybe they could consider including kids' ideas."
Alex spent several days deciding what type of pig she wanted to design and then it took her about a day to complete her drawing. The contest provided a sheet of paper with a sketched outline of a pig and then each artist had to color in his or her pig specifying the necessary details, as well as giving it a name.
Alex, an avid Mariner fan, thought it would be special to make her pig about baseball. Although she doesn't play the game, she follows the team and attends games whenever possible. She made her pig Mariner blue and decorated it with baseballs and bats and then gave it moose antlers for ears and a pair of baseballs for eyes.
"The moose antlers are for the Mariner mascot," comments Alex. "I wanted to somehow put something of the Mariner Moose in my pig because I think he's really a fun mascot for the team. I came up with the name of "Pop Fly Pig" because a pop fly is a common term in baseball."
A letter came to Alex's house stating that one of the family's designs had been chosen, but it didn't specify who in particular had been selected for this honor. Then a phone call came and Alex learned that "Pop Fly Pig" was going to be among the 200 Pigs on Parade.
She says, "I was so excited and happy! It was hard to believe that they had chosen my design, in spite of the fact that I didn't meet their age requirement."
The actual fiberglass pig was painted and adorned by local artist Jordan Baker, a University of Washington theater set designer. Even though the two never met or discussed the pig's design, Jordan was able to follow Alex's design and accurately depict "Pop Fly Pig."
It was a thrill for Alex to see her pig come to life and then proudly pull it along on wheels for the parade on May 26.
She says, "The day of the parade was the first time I actually got to see the finished product and I was so happy that Jordan had made it exactly how I had designed it."
The pig is sponsored by Brown's Cooperstown Sport Card and Memorabilia and it has been installed next to the Sheraton Hotel. Alex hopes that the Mariners' organization bids on her pig and permanently places it at Safeco Field. She has written them a letter with her request and is awaiting their response.
"I'm proud of myself," comments Alex. "Having my drawing selected has really given me confidence for entering future contests and doing other projects.
"I realize that if I put my heart into things, good results can happen. It's so fun to go and see my pig and be able to say, 'I designed that!' I really hope I can visit it at Safeco Field!"