Skip to Main Content

Valleyfair

Skip to Next Section

Remembering David Sherman

Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. 

The Valleyfair team was saddened to hear of the passing of one of Valleyfair's founder, David Sherman. Throughout the last 41 years, Valleyfair has grown and changed but the original image that David Sherman had for the park remains, a place for Minnesota families to come together and have fun.

Valleyfair's cofounders, Walt Wittmer and David Sherman, were approached by Fred Pierce Jr. of Excelsior Amusement Park and Pierce asked them if they would be interested in building an amusement park in the Minneapolis area. Wittmer and Sherman, having just finished up project management for the IDS Center in Minneapolis, felt up to the challenge.

They put together their vision for Minnesota's Amusement Park and presented their business plan investors in New York City three times, but always received a rejection.

“We were so far into it at that time, we thought, heck, we can do it ourselves,” Wittmer told the Shakopee Valley News in 2001. The duo quit their jobs and decided to open Valleyfair.

In August of 1974, construction of Valleyfair began. When the park opened in 1976, it included extensive land development, rides, attractions, buildings, and landscaping. High Roller-the sole roller coaster-was the main attraction.

“It was the early 70s and here was an opportunity for business that communities would enjoy,” Sherman told Valleyfair in 2016, “It took us four years from concept to reality. As we toured around we knew that this was a smaller park and we wouldn’t have enough money to change themes, so we went for a turn of the century - family get together theme.”

The first two years of operation were successful. Wanting to capitalize on this success and continue with an accelerated expansion plan, Valleyfair’s management determined they needed additional investors.

Sherman's dream to bring joy to Twin Cities' families turned into a community landmark and rite of passage. When the park debuted in 1976, there were 900 seasonal employees and 63 full-time staff.  Today, there about 70 year-round employees. This season, about 1,600 seasonal employees will be hired.

"Dave Sherman started what has become a Minnesota tradition, "said, Brad Marcy, Valleyfair's General Manager, "Valleyfair is now a cornerstone of countless family memories for all Minnesotans because of his vision."

Share This

Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. 

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Valleyfair App

From securing purchases to finding your friends, the Valleyfair app has it all. We are here to answer all your questions about our mobile app and show you how this tool will help you have the best day ever at Valleyfair!
Read More

Valleyfair Receives Platinum International Aquatic Safety Award

Valleyfair received the Platinum International Aquatic Safety Award for the third year in a row by Jeff Ellis & Associates. Valleyfair ranked in the top 16% of the Aquatic and Risk Management Consultant's 650 clients worldwide.
Read More

Making A Monster

With all of these terrifying creatures roaming the park, do you ever wonder what it takes to become a ValleySCARE monster?
Read More

The Best Way to Spend Your Day at The Great Pumpkin Fest

We've put together a list of must stop spots to ensure that you have the Best Day Ever this Fall at The Great Pumpkin Fest!
Read More

New Haunted Maze, New Scare Zone, and New Entertainment Bring Fresh Frights in 2018

ValleySCARE Returns to Valleyfair September 22 – October 28. New Haunted Maze, New Scare Zone, and New Entertainment Bring Fresh Frights in 2018.
Read More

Rides at Valleyfair: Better at Night

Every Valleyfair ride is awesome; sometimes even more so at night! If you choose to stick around when the sun goes down, check out some of the rides that we all love to ride in the dark.
Read More

Valleyfair Names New Vice President and General Manager

Valleyfair is excited to announce Raul Rehnborg as the park's Vice President and General Manager.
Read More

2019 Season Passes

2019 Season Passes are officially on sale and you won’t want to miss the great benefits that come with getting one early. Here are some of the many reasons you should get a Gold Pass right now!
Read More

What Is Your Snoopy Persona?

Are you a fierce Flying Ace or laid-back Joe Cool? In honor of Snoopy’s Birthday on August 10, choose your favorite alter-ego of Snoopy’s to see what it says about you. It may also help you decide the best way to celebrate the Birthday of everyone’s favorite Beagle!
Read More

Where & How to Meet the PEANUTS Gang

Are you dying to meet your favorite PEANUTS character, but don’t know how? If you’re wondering how to make sure you get a photo with the PEANUTS gang, you’ve come to the right place
Read More