Wednesday, February 28, 2001 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seattle trips the light fantastic with first of Pigs on Parade

Seattle Times staff reporter

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As befitted the occasion, the mood was dignified, as least as dignified as it could be with a set of high-heeled, pink-wigged dancers shaking their groove thangs to the sounds of Kool and the Gang.

Outside a purposefully hidden display window at Nordstrom's flagship store, a crowd of about 100 yesterday rocked to the beat as handlers prepared for the main event - the unveiling of the first of 200 artist-decorated, fiberglass pigs destined to dot the street corners of downtown Seattle this summer.

The planned pig outbreak is part of Pigs on Parade, a project benefiting the Pike Place Market Foundation's programs for low-income residents of the neighborhood. The swine pay homage to Rachel, the bronze pig that has stood sentry at the market since 1986.

On May 26, a convoy of designer porkers will roll from the market to Westlake Center, where they'll be on display for several days before being placed throughout the area.

So far, the foundation has about 70 of the 200 individual and corporate pig sponsors it hopes to line up, at rates from $2,500 to $20,000. The effort echoes those in cities such as Chicago, which unleashed cows upon its citizenry to raise money, and Toronto, which loosed moose with similar intent.

Yesterday's crowd - mostly Nordstrom employees, foundation members and artists - buzzed in anticipation. Donna Summer wailed that she needed some hot stuff tonight.

Then, the curtains parted, and the glittering, 5½-foot-long creature appeared in the boogie-woogie darkness.

As mirror-tiled pigs go, it was a beauty. It hung from the ceiling, spinning like a 45 rpm record. If the Bee Gees had ever had some free time down on the farm, this might have been the result.

The funky, Nordstrom-sponsored pig was the brainchild of Dave Hanoch, a 27-year-old artist who also designs product presentations for Nordstrom. He said he wanted something functional, something that would reflect Seattle in the same way that, he said, Nordstrom and the Pike Place Market itself reflect the city.

Hence: Disco Pig. The crowd showered Hanoch with applause.


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