A generation of Atlantans rode the Pink Pig on the roof of the old Rich’s Department Store in Downtown. (Courtesy Georgia State University Archives)

Riding the Pink Pig has been a holiday tradition since 1956 when it launched as an indoor monorail  – then called the Snowball Express – hanging from the ceiling of the toy department at the old Rich’s Department Store in Downtown. 

For a generation of kids, squeezing into the Pink Pig – the two cars were called Percival and Priscilla – when it moved to the roof of Rich’s in 1965 was as important as a visit with Santa Clause. The up-close view of the giant Christmas tree and the glittering city skyline would put anyone in the holiday spirit. 

The coveted “I Rode the Pink Pig” sticker was worn proudly on coat lapels during lunch at The Magnolia Room inside Rich’s or for a treat at The Varsity. 

When Rich’s closed in 1991, the Pink Pig moved to the Festival of Trees at the World Congress Center before moving to its final home 2003 on top of the Macy’s parking deck at Lenox Square 

While Percival retired to the Atlanta History Center, Priscilla continued to be the centerpiece at Lenox until 2019. The attraction was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic, but then in September, Macy’s announced the Pink Pig would not return.

We asked readers to share their memories of the Pink Pig. Here are a few of them:

“I rode the Pink Pig at Rich’s Downtown throughout my childhood. It was always the highlight of the Christmas season. I remember cherishing the sticker I received after the ride. So long, Pink Pig. Thanks for all the rides and good memories.”  – Auntie Shun (@richhomieshun1)

“Ah, the view of all those toys through your little window! I can’t think about riding the Pink Pig without thinking of the lighting of the great tree, atop the crystal bridge just as the singer would hit the high note in O Holy Night.” – Karen Head

“When we first moved here in the 70’s we rode it downtown. It was the whitest thing ever! We were really confused about the fuss of it.”  – Theresa Davis

“Riding the Pink Pig was such a fun experience. I remember going with my first grade class on a field trip to ride the Pink Pig and then having a picnic in a small nearby park. I met some of my college classmates my freshman year (fall of ‘87) at Rich’s to experience the Pink Pig one more time. Squeezing our adult-ish bodies (and booties) into the old girl was quite a hoot. Good times!” – Cliff Smith

“My father took my younger sister and me to ride the Pink Pig in 1957 or ‘58. He was holding our hands as he led us to Priscilla. I assumed he would get on with us, but when he didn’t, I was scared to death. Then I looked down and saw him looking up at us and finally realized it was just going in a circle on the ceiling, we’d soon be back on the ground.” – Cathy Tolan Curlette

“I rode the Pink Pig for the first time in 1976 during a first grade field trip to Rich’s where we also saw Santa Clause. I don’t think you could get away with a field trip like that nowadays. Seeing the giant Christmas tree just outside the window and the buildings of Atlanta was so awe-inspiring as a kid. I went back in 1990 before the grand old store closed and managed to squeeze onto the Pink Pig as an adult. It was hilarious how tiny and cramped it was inside, but it was worth the effort. The ride wasn’t the same once it moved to Lenox, but Christmas won’t be the same without the Pink Pig.” – Tina Miller 

The Pink Pig in its final incarnation at Macy’s at Lenox Square.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.