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WCCO Viewers’ Choice For Best State Fair Ride: The Giant Slide

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State Fair

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – Your favorite ride – the Giant Slide — has become an icon over the last 45 years.

It’s a tradition for many Minnesota families…and it’s a part of life for the Pittroffs.

“Well, I have my kids working now and my husband, and we all worked together,” said Stacey Pittroff-Barona, as she pointed to her father. “I guess it is three generations of working at the slide.”

It all started back in the late 1960s, when Fred Pittroff, Stacey’s father, was building a giant slide every week.

“We had a yard in California where we put them together,” Fred said. “Then we put them on semis and shipped them out. We flew on an airplane with a tool box and put them together, and then went to another location.”

He ended up building 42 of them, but Minnesota’s has special meaning.

“[My husband and I] actually got engaged at a fair convention,” Stacy said. “So we decided it’d be fitting — well, actually, all our friends decided it’d be fitting — to get married on top of the slide.”

Stacey and Rob Barona took the plunge back in 1996. Since then they’ve averaged about 200,000 riders on the Giant Slide each year at the State Fair. And many of those riders include kids and grandkids.

Unfortunately, I didn’t come here as a kid, so I am inexplicably terrible at the slide. So I enlisted some help Friday from a pair with a little more experience.

Isabella and Annabella Barona – Stacey’s daughters — have been sliding since they were babies. They done it hundreds of times, and they know the secrets to a fast ride.

“It kinda depends on your mat,” the girls said. “And who is pushing you down.”

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