As you walk through Seattle’s nine-acre historic district known as the Pike Place Market, each of your senses will be stimulated by the Market’s various charms. The sounds of street musicians commonly referred to as “buskers” fill the air with their musical selections. The aroma of fresh-cut flowers, newly baked baguettes and piroshkies tantalize the senses.
As your fingertips experience the softness of a hand-woven sweater and your taste buds enjoy the splendor of a cup of Starbuck’s original Pike Place brew, you bask in the organic beauty that radiates from each of the over 400 booths and businesses.
Featuring one of the country’s oldest farmers’ markets, specialty foods from around the world, a craft market, dozens of eclectic restaurants, and thriving owner-operated businesses, Pike Place Market offers its visitors a unique glance into the one-of-a-kind novelties that define Seattle.
Created in August 1907, Pike Place Market boasts a distinctive history. As the 19th century came to a close, Seattle was growing rapidly as the population of fisherman, merchants, and gold rushers continued to skyrocket.
With a steady influx of new residents, Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle was concerned about the absurdly high prices being charge by middlemen for locally grown produce. He proposed a public market where farmers could sell directly to consumers.
On its opening day, the Pike Place Market consisted of eight local farmers selling their goods directly to more than 10,000 people; thereby eliminating middlemen and wholesalers in order to provide shoppers with valuable commodities at practical prices.
Over time, the Market experienced stunning growth – now hosting more than 80 farmers, 200 businesses, and 200 crafts people. With over 10 million annual visitors, it comes as no surprise that the Pike Place Market has been lovingly nicknamed “the Soul of Seattle.”
Pike Place Market
1st Ave and Pike Street
Seattle, Washington 98101
Pike Place Fish Market – Fish Flinging Frenzy
First-time visitors to Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market are relatively easy to spot as they stare up at the “Caution: Low Flying Fish” signs in bewilderment. However, it does not take very long for them to understand the necessity of such warnings.
Famous for its enthusiastic fishmongers, the Pike Place Fish Market offers some of the world’s finest seafood selections in an entertaining environment showcasing Seattle’s uniquely interactive fish sales.
This sector of the Pike Place Market, renowned for its fresh fish flinging, is particularly invested in connecting with their customers on a personal level through an unparalleled devotion to generating cherished memories – whether or not each patron ultimately purchases fish.
Workers at the Pike Place Fish Market enjoy surprising and amusing their customers by chasing them around the market with a giant octopus, inviting them to participate in a friendly halibut toss, or simply putting on a little show to flaunt their flinging talents.
This entertaining spectacle reached new heights in 1986 when the fish market owner and employees amped up their fish flinging from a time saving step to a fun, customer focused performance. Soon, this exciting pastime was adopted as fish market tradition and visitors from around the world began rushing in to experience the exhibition first-hand.
Dressed in orange rubber overalls and boots, the Pike Place fishmongers begin their performances by loudly proclaiming the customer’s order, which is soon vigorously shouted back by another employee. With this signal, the original fishmonger hurls the customer’s hand-selected fish behind the counter for wrapping by the second, “echoing” fishmonger.
As this pattern continues throughout the day, the fish market staff perpetually chants and hollers – demonstrating the very passion and commitment that continue to define the Pike Place Fish Market as a world famous seafood destination and cultural treasure.
Pike Place Fish Market
86 Pike Street
Seattle, Washington 98101
By: Stacy Etters
Photos: The Pike Place Market clock is a trademark owned by the Pike Place Market PDA.