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Summer of Love

Valleyfair |
February 14, 2017

It is that time of year again when the unlucky in love trudge on down to the nearest frozen food isle to buy gallon tubs of ice cream before cozying up to the latest tear jerking movie because it’s another Valentine’s Day alone. What if this could potentially be the year to end the ice cream and movie “tradition”? This summer, ditch the dating sites and join the long list of lovebirds who found happily ever after during a summer working at Valleyfair.

“I started working here seasonally in 1997 in the foods department,” said Frank Padilla, Valleyfair Director of Food Operations. “I met my wife in 1998 when she started as a foods associate and we have been together ever since.” 

“I started working here in 2006 and my wife started in 2009,” said Andy Bursey, Valleyfair Park Operations Manager. “We both worked in rides and I was her supervisor. One year later we started dating and the rest is history.” The two were married in 2015.

There are countless stories like these from seasonal employees who met their better half working at Valleyfair over the past several decades. In fact, more than one quarter of the park’s 75 full-time staff met their spouses while working as a seasonal employee. 

Maybe this should come as no surprise. After all, what’s more romantic than an amusement park; riding the Ferris Wheel together, winning her that giant stuffed toy or sharing a bag of cotton candy? 

“I believe it’s so common in this industry because everyone is on a level playing field.” said Matt LaRiccia, Valleyfair Director of Operations, who also met his wife working seasonally at an amusement park. “You’re meeting so many new people from outside of your regular social group and so you don’t have any cliques or history to contend with.” 

LaRiccia adds that when you multiply this new found group of friends with the hundreds of hours spent working closely together over the course of a summer, it’s a perfect environment for developing authentic relationships, whether romantic or simply platonic.

Students and hopeless romantics alike age 16 and up can get a jump on securing a summer job at Valleyfair by applying online at The park has more than 1,600 seasonal positions available including admissions, park operations, lifeguards, games, retail, food service, maintenance, safety and security.