The 1946 Pig Derby
In August, 1946, over 6000 visitors, several times Kirkland’s population then, swarmed into town to watch the much-publicized high point of Kirkland’s first Water Festival: The pig swimming races.
BANG! The starting pistol fired and beautiful bikini-clad young women–UW drama students–opened the gates and 18 pigs slid down chutes, splashing into the lake and took to their lanes, made from floating boards, where most made the 75 feet to shore, though several had to be recovered by Pig Patrol boat after they inadvertently made for open water.
National media were on-hand and the event was described over a live radio feed and newsreel cameras lined the dock. Rose of Normandie won the race in 45 seconds, clearly a world record, given that this was history’s first recorded aquatic swine-swimming contest!