Eric Zavinski – News Editor
Nestled near the shore of Seattle, stretching along the Puget Sound, there lies a public market unlike any you have likely seen. Pike Place Market is regulated to host only local vendors and products, some of which are wholly unique to the area.
With every vase of flowers and iced shelf full of fish coming from just the state of Washington, it could leave one wondering how so much variety could be possible. Once you came to terms with the local richness of the food and fauna, it typically leaves you marveling at the excitement in color and activity.
Workers at the Pike Place Fish Co. make a sport of their business every time they receive an order. For the fun of all watching, they throw massive fish back and forth, exemplary of incredible worker morale and dexterity. Those things have to be slippery.
What was most awesome, however, was the variety of crafts and practical wares that swarmed the main floor of the market. Vendors, composed of the original artists and their supporters, all wore happy faces to greet tourists and Seattle residents alike with their one-of-a-kind products.
One woman stood in for a local artist who proved himself an excellent woodworking craftsman. Every table, chair and cutting board was shaved to auburn, maroon or violet perfection, and as is customary for Pike Place, all the wood originated from a Washington tree.
Other intricate artifacts littered the sides of the market as well. Gear-shaped analog clocks made from scratch joined the artistic visions of textile makers and landscape photographers still interested in the methods of layering film of the past. Sights including the Space Needle and Mount Rainier stood perfectly still and focused in its captured brightness through the lenses of these local artists.
The spirit of Seattle also shone through the vendors. One woman in particular was very eager to see me try her business’s ghost pepper extract, even though my throat begged to differ.
Handcrafted jewelry, knick knacks of all sorts and souvenirs were absolutely staples of Pike Place for the tourists in tow. If those in Clarion enjoy Crafters Day during Autumn Leaf Festival because of the unique creations on display, they would indulge themselves in Pike Place’s assortment of local west coast beauty.
The lower floors of the Pike Place Market showed its variety as well, although there was not as much original work to be found. Clothing stores adjoined book stores, and one of my favorites of the lower levels, Golden Age Collectibles, called itself home to thousands of comic books, graphic novels, figurines and cardboard standees of geek culture’s lovable mainstays such as Star Wars, DC and Marvel universes, classic video games and much more.
Outside and slightly secluded, there was a sight to behold that could unofficially be a landmark of Pike Place. An alleyway lay as a mosaic in front of spectators who looked upon the pieces of used gum that consumed the surface. Business cards and candy wrappers creeped forth from the dried saliva and glucose, and personally, I could not help myself from adding to the gross, most likely international, collection.
With each piece an irreplaceable and unique part of a massive whole, Pike Place Market was just like that wall of gum, albeit a lot less disgusting.