As many Cincinnati residents are aware, both natives and transplants, the city is known not only for beer and chili but pork products. Indeed, the flying pigs abound around here and the Queen City’s second-most-popular nickname is Porkopolis. So, where does the flying bit come in and what exactly is the origin of that nickname?PorkopolisIn 1819, Ed. B. Cooke wrote in the publication the Inquisitor and the Cincinnati Advertiser, “the City is, indeed, justly styled the fair Queen of the West,” thus giving the town it’s most popular nickname.Five years later, Cincinnati had become a huge hog processing center. As the story goes, a banker named George W. Jones writing to banker colleague in Liverpool, England extolled the virtues of the city’s pork-packing prowess. A few years after these correspondences began, the British banker sent his American friend two papier-mache hogs telling Jones he was a proper agent of Porkopolis.Other non-Cincinnatians, especially those that visited during hog season, didn’t find the name or the pigs nearly as charming as Jones’ mate in Liverpool. In fact, with the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1845, the streets were awash in hogs, at least in the fall and winter. In spring and summer, the nickname Porkopolis didn’t really apply.Still, the city was the pork-packing capital of the world for the rest of the 19th century and most of the 20th. This was not lost on the producers of the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati who made newsman Les Nessman’s Hog Reports an integral part of his job. Additionally, the station’s biggest competitor in town was the also fictitious WPIG.Flying PigsThe phrase “when pigs fly” has been part of the American vernacular since the late 19th century, having been derived from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. However, it wasn’t really linked to Cincinnati until 1980. \nThe town had a dancing pig, though, by way of musician Red Foley. In 1950, he released the song "Cincinnati Dancing Pig," which reached No. 7 on the hit Parade that year, but that was about it.In the 1980s, as part of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the city, a park was built along the river and named Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point. British Artist Andrew Leicester was commissioned to construct a sculpture to stand at the park’s entrance. The piece he created consists of four crowned smokestacks, which recall the importance of the riverboat to the city’s history. Atop each smokestack is a small statue of a pig. In an apparent fit of whimsy, Leicester adorned the creatures with wings. He later explained that this was to symbolize the hogs’ ascent to Heaven, as they gave their souls to make the city great.Since then, the city has really latched on to the idea. The gift shops at the Cincinnati\/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) are filled with flying pig T-shirts, snow globes, mugs, shot glasses, and more, all of which sell briskly. In 1999, the inaugural Flying Pig Marathon was held. It is now the third-largest first-time marathon in the U.S. and a huge annual event in the city.In 2000 and 2012, the Big Pig Gig saw hundreds of fiberglass pigs, decorated by local artists, schools, and other organizations, dotting the area. Not all had wings, but a good number did. Today, flying pigs are as ubiquitous in Cincinnati as riverboats, chili spaghetti, and craft beer.