Family-run Giant Slide celebrates 50 years at the Minnesota State Fair
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (FOX 9) - While there's a lot to celebrate at this year's Minnesota State Fair, one icon is celebrating 50 years running.
We all know it, and we all love it. The Giant Slide is celebrating 50 years this summer. It's a family business that spans generations, and the man who started it all said his granddaughter will help carry on the tradition.
Fred Pittroff started the slide in the summer of 1969. Since then, it's become one of the most iconic parts of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
"Usually it doesn't work in three generations, but in our family, it did," he said. "It's a family-oriented ride. Actually, the average person is about 70, 60 years old that rides it with their grandkid. It's tradition. I mean, they rode it when they were kids and now they're riding it with grandkid."
It's been three generations--50 years--and thousands of rides down the Giant Slide.
"That's kind of our claim to fame is everyone can ride the slide, all ages," said Fred's daughter Stacey Barona.
Barona said that in those 50 summers, the slide hasn't changed.
"It's the same amount of steps, the colors varied a little bit. Originally it was actually yellow then we did green and yellow, and now we're back to yellow... back to the original," she said.
It's so much a part of their family, she even got married there on opening day in 1996.
"Now my daughters are third generation. They're helping run the business, so it's super exciting for us," she said.
Stacey's daughter Isabella is helping mark the special occasion with something new.
"The original t-shirts were green, so we wanted to pay tribute to that," Isabella said.
"This year, for one year only, we're selling merchandise. It will not come back for another 50 years so if you want your merchandise, you better come get it quick because it's going to sell out quick," Stacey said.
It's all to give visitors a chance to take a piece of the tradition home with them.
"It's kind of what I think makes this ride special and unique," Isabella said.