By Ashley Barker
Published July 15, 2014
Jackson’s hooves will no longer be pounding the pavement of King Street. Children won’t stop to rub his bristly hair and soft underbelly while their parents guide them from one vendor to the next. His black snout is done inhaling the many different delicacies that are prepared for visitors at 2nd Sunday on King Street.
Jackson, a 300-pound pig who serves as the Striped Pig Distillery mascot, has been banned from attending the monthly event in downtown Charleston.
Jim Craig, owner of both the distillery and Jackson, said he was shocked to receive an email on Friday from the King Street Marketing Group, which plans and promotes 2nd Sunday on King Street, asking him not to bring his pet back to the street fair.
Jackson, the Striped Pig Distillery mascot, always drew a crowd when he was at 2nd Sunday on King Street. (Photos/Provided/ Jackson-The Striped Pig Facebook page)
“We felt like he added to the fun and unique atmosphere of King Street. He never caused any harm, and although he’s a hefty guy, there are many dogs that frequent King Street that are much more intimidating,” Craig said.
Parading Jackson around was initially a marketing idea to attract more visitors to the North Charleston distillery. After Craig took Jackson to a few events for publicity, he realized they made a perfect pair, and what was then a 19-pound piglet became Craig’s pet about 10 months ago.
“Our logo is a striped pig. I thought, ‘What better way to showcase our story than to have an actual striped pig?’” Craig said. “We taught him how to sit, play dead, and he was harness-and-leash trained at a young age.”
Jackson made his debut at 2nd Sunday on King Street in October 2013 and has been known to wear tuxedos and other costumes along with his stripes, which are painted on with non-allergenic hairspray that Craig buys from a local beauty supply shop. It rinses off easily with soap and water after public events, Craig said.
“Although I’m not giving out any brochures or soliciting business, he’s instantly recognizable,” Craig said. “He’s very well-mannered for a 300-pound animal. He’s just looking for belly rubs from whoever he sees.”
The email banning Jackson was sent by Susan Lucas, who helped launch King Street Marketing Group in 2007.
Lucas said the group was recently required to update its guidelines with the city of Charleston to make sure safety rules were in place before its special-event permit could be renewed.
“2nd Sunday guidelines prohibit farm animals. We’ve had pigs and horses and other large animals show up and because of safety, we have to be able to clear the street for a fire engine or ambulance,” Lucas said. “The city asked us to put that in the guidelines. It wasn’t just for Jackson. We think Jackson is adorable.”
She said at least two 2nd Sunday guests have complained about Jackson. One was a dog owner.
“One of the dogs that was there went up to Jackson, and Jackson didn’t really make any welcoming gestures,” Lucas said. “Another complaint was that he’s slow. ... He waddles down the street and creates a bottleneck.”
Craig acknowledged that Jackson walks slower than most dogs and tends to draw a crowd. But, he said, Jackson has never been unfriendly with other animals.
“There probably was a bit of a bottleneck when he decided he wanted to lie in the gutter where there was some water. There wasn’t anything to do but to go let him lay in the gutter,” Craig said. “As I sat there waiting on him, there was a big semicircle crowd videoing him lying in the gutter.”
“No animals are permitted on the street except for leashed companion or service dogs that passively tolerate the presence of other dogs, children and crowds,” the guidelines read.
Craig said he reviewed the document and found it to be disappointing.
“We never realized we caused trouble,” he said, adding that he will keep the pig at home. “Realistically, what can you do if they don’t want you there? It’s a waste of time to fight City Hall.”
Craig said Jackson will continue attending other events and will remain a frequent guest at the distillery. Striped Pig Distillery will not consider becoming a vendor at 2nd Sunday on King Street, though, if Jackson remains banned.
Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.