Security guard Fritz Scharer patrols Pike Place Market at 3:53 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2019, in Seattle.
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Security guard Fritz Scharer patrols Pike Place Market at 3:53 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2019, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What it's like at 4 a.m. at the Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market before dawn is empty. Eerily so, because the neon lights are still on.

On the cobblestone streets outside, a few delivery drivers make their rounds. One unloads crates of produce.

Another driver snoozes in his milk truck, as a thick hose hanging off the back pumps milk into Beecher's Handmade Cheese shop.

Security guard Fritz Scharer walks the empty stalls.

"As old as it is, it's kind of mysterious at night,” Fritz Scharer said. “Every nook and corner has stories to tell.”

He’s worked the night shift here for 12 years. Back in the day, he said, they used to have go-kart races on Saturdays … racing down the hill in Post Alley.

Scharer checks his watch. He needs to do another round before showtime.

“People from the flowers start showing up about 5:30 because they take some time to set up,” he said. “Same as the fish guys, because everything's gotta be just right. New ice. New everything. So they’re usually the first two."

But for now, he’s got a couple more hours of quiet…

Read more from KUOW's Night Shift series.