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An Atlanta Tradition:The Pink Pig Returns

The Pink Pig has been a popular Atlanta Christmas attraction since it first spun around the top of Rich’s(now known as Macy’s) downtown store in 1953 and starting yesterday its back for another go around!

Here’s some background on how this attraction came about via

After World War II Rich’s found that it needed to attract customers from the growing Atlanta suburbs to its downtown store. In 1948 Rich’s added a Christmas Tree (“The Great Tree”) to the top of the store’s 4-story “Crystal Bridge” across Forsyth Street. Although Richard Rich, grandson of store founder Mo Rich, is commonly credited with the innovation, it was Frank Pallotta, Rich’s Publicity Director, who actually came up with the idea. More was needed by the early 1950’s to compete with Franklin-Simon, Sears, Roebuck and J. C. Penney, each of whom had targeted suburban customers of Rich’s.

Pallotta once again came up with an idea to attract suburban customers downtown. He added “Priscilla the Pig,” a small train that ran on a monorail through the toy department in 1953. A small fee was charged to ride the train through the toy department. At this time the Pink Pig was segregated.

In 1955, to take advantage of the popularity of the children’s ride, Rich’s moved The Pink Pig to the roof of the store, where it ran on a monorail and left the store through an opening that allowed kids an up-close view of the Great Tree, Atlanta, and circled the toy department inside. A second pig, Percival, was added in 1964 to increase ridership. They would both run on the same monorail and they were known as the Pink Pig Twins. At this time the ride was extended to loop around the Great Tree.

Rich’s was boycotted early in the Civil Rights movement when the store refused to serve African-Americans at the Magnolia Room, a restaurant inside Rich’s. Before the 1961 Christmas season Rich’s preemptively desegregated not only the store, but the Pink Pig as well. This was viewed by the leaders of the Civil Rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, as the largest success in the Civil Rights movement to date.

When Rich’s downtown store closed in 1991 the Pink Pig moved to the Festival of Trees held to benefit Eggleston Hospital, but the Pink Pig was too expensive to run. It was discontinued after 1995 at the Festival of Trees and donated to the Atlanta History Center. In 2003 the Pink Pig was resurrected, updated and moved to a tent at the top deck of the Macy’s parking garage. Behind the current attraction is the original Pink Pig, on loan from the Atlanta History Center.

I have to say my son rode this when he was younger but I don’t quite remember him enjoying it as much as my daughter…maybe it was all the PINK!  I can’t wait to ride again this year with my daughter being a year older and her vocabulary being a lot more detailed and developed.


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