DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa State Fair’s Giant Slide is marking 50 years at the Fair, in a new location. The slide needed some foundation work, so it seemed a good time to move the structure. The new location gives the ride greater visibility on the fairgrounds.
According to a news release from the State Fair, Fred Pittroff installed the slide in 1971. It was operated by Vester Crutchfield for 39 years until he sold it to the Fair in 2014. In 1976 rides on the slide cost 25 cents, it’s $3.00 now. The slide was named the Reichardt Family Slide in 2015. It takes 20 employees to operate the slide. It’s 50 feet high, and 170 feet long. The slide uses felt mats, in 50 years 5 million people have taken the 5-second ride.
Four members of the Hampton Class of 1971 celebrated their 50th reunion, and the 50th anniversary of the slide, by all going down the ride together.
“Awesome. I came all the way from Charlotte, NC to be on this ride today,” said Byl Schneider, who was the class of 1971 Class President.
“I think it’s great I’ve done it,” said Larry Hansen, of Hampton.
Steve Munns came back from Kansas City, “I think it’s hot here and I didn’t hurt myself on the slide.”
The group also saw the Butter Cow and the Biggest Pig.
The Giant Slide is an annual tradition for some.
“Every year we go down at least five times,” said Katie Robinson, of Ankeny, who was on the ride with her daughter. “But the fair wasn’t here last year, so now mommy gets to go down 10 times.”