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Flying fish, Grammy-winning buskers, the world's first Starbucks and a giant piggy bank await SIMON COLLINS in Seattle

A fish broke Alex Rose’s finger.

A hurled halibut, to be specific, caused the workplace injury to the monger at Seattle’s Pike Place Market where fish have flown since the mid-80s.

The somewhat apocryphal story is that mongers decided flinging fish over the counter to be wrapped was more efficient than walking back to complete the sale.

Or perhaps Pike Place Fish Market owner John Yokoyama, floundering towards bankruptcy, decided the stunt would lure customers and perhaps make his stall world famous.

Either way, the flying fish tipped the scales back into the black and the raucous fish shop at the entrance to the labyrinthine market is one of the busiest outlets at Seattle’s most popular tourist attraction.

More than 15 million people visited last year — not all of them tourists, given the range of fresh produce available daily at Pike Place Market on Elliott Bay.

Locals shop at this 112-year-old Seattle institution, which continues to live up to the slogan painted in tall letters next to the famous neon sign: “Meet the producers.”

A handful of farmers started the market in 1907 to get around price-gouging wholesalers by selling direct to the public. Buyers immediately vastly outnumbered sellers intimidated by middle men, but Pike Place survived standovers and the initial “clammers’ fiasco” (as one newspaper described opening day) to flourish. Mostly.

Read the full story, and more, at thewest.com.au

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