Falling in Love at Valleyfair
Ron and Kim Hubner’s love story started 32 years ago in the business of fun and their relationship has been fun ever since. Ron started working at Valleyfair at the age of 15 and a year later, the future Mrs. Hubner, Kim, joined the Valleyfair Merchandise & Games Department.
Ron, who worked in the Midway Games area, frequently walked past Kim while she was working at The Mad Hatter gift shop. When a supervisor picked up on their connection, he instructed them to take their lunch break at the same time on a rainy day - their first ‘unofficial’ date.
That same summer Ron challenged Kim to a tennis match when he noticed she frequently wore an Apple Valley tennis jacket. Unknowing to Ron, Kim did not play tennis and was borrowing the jacket from a friend but she joined him for the game that sparked their relationship. With neither of them being skilled at tennis, the matched transformed into more of a hockey game with tennis rackets. After their game, they enjoyed their own private picnic and that was the start of a lifelong partnership.
After a few years of dating, Kim was still at school in Mankato when Ron couldn’t wait anymore and proposed to her when she came home for Christmas. “When my parents met him, my dad said ‘He’s the one, he makes you laugh and that makes me happy,” Kim said.
Ron and Kim got married in October of 1987 at the Conservatory in Saint Paul. They picked October specifically so they would be able to celebrate their anniversary every year when the park closed and wouldn’t have to worry about their work schedules. Although Halloween Haunt was not initially a part of their anniversary plan, it quickly became another chapter in their story.
Romantic anniversary dinners turned into quick sandwich picnics in the back of the Clown Maze. “I remember the evil Halloween clowns would always wish us Happy Anniversary,” Kim said, laughing at the memory. Kim still comes out to Valleyfair every Halloween Haunt and walks the park with Ron.
Valleyfair holds a very special place in both Kim and Ron’s hearts. They still have their annual picnic every year – the same one they went on after their first date – with the same menu, chicken, jo-jo potatoes and grapes. “No matter how busy we are, we always make it to the picnic,” Ron said, “Whether it rains or the location of the picnic changes, we always make it work.”
Kim’s favorite ride at Valleyfair is High Roller. “High Roller is my favorite but I am very passionate about Wild Thing because Ron came up with the name,” Kim said, “He named it after our son, who was very wild at the time.” Ron’s favorite ride, of course, is Wild Thing. “Wild Thing will always be special to me,” Ron said.
Kim and Ron have two children, Stephanie, 28 years old, who followed in her parent’s footsteps and works for Disney in Florida, and Ryan, 22 years old.
“It’s about finding a way to keep falling in love,” Kim said, “Trying new things is great. We just tried pickle ball for the first time. Doing good things for each other is also important. Little things mean a lot.” Ron’s advice for new couples is simple – keep it fresh.