Love. It’s the foundation for our favorite songs. It’s the bedrock of our most cherished books. It’s the overarching theme in the most famous films. The beauty of love is it doesn’t have to be found in Verona, Italy. Two star crossed lovers can find each other walking down the midway at a local amusement park. That is the story for many couples who found the person who changed their entire world while working at Valleyfair. So, whether you are spending this Valentine’s Day single or with the love of your life, we hope these stories warm you up on this cold February day.
Ron and Kim
Ron and Kim Hubner’s love story started 35 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 match 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.”
“It’s about finding a way to keep falling in love,” Kim said, “Trying new things is great. We just tried pickleball 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.
Andy and Grace
Andy Bursey and Grace Orvick met, as many Valleyfair associates do, on their first day at work. Grace was new to Valleyfair and excited for her first day on the job. She reported to Galaxy Theater, where she would meet her supervisory team. As she rounded the corner to the theater, she saw Andy Bursey for the first time.
He stuck out to her because of his high energy that day. Grace went into the theater, and the supervisors went on stage for introductions. When Andy's name was called, he slid across the floor on his knees, and that is when Grace knew he was someone special.
Grace and Andy worked together at Valleyfair for the next few years, but only ever as friends. Grace eventually moved on from her summer job at Valleyfair, but she and Andy continued to talk. They decided to give dating a try, and feelings flared during their first date at Ruby Tuesdays.
"I knew I loved her pretty early on," Andy recalls. After just a few months of dating, Andy and Grace moved in together and were married a few years later. Valleyfair holds a special spot in their relationship, which is why the couple decided to take their engagement photos at the park, right outside Galaxy Theater, where they first met.
Andy, now the Operations Manager at Valleyfair, has seen many couples find love while working at Valleyfair. "If you talk to anyone who works here, they talk about how much they enjoy the people that they work with," Andy said, "These kids spend so much time together, and it is easy to develop friendships or even relationships during the season."
Heather and Tom
Heather started working at Valleyfair in 1996 at the Challenge Park Mini-Golf Course. Fate had another plan for her and after a month of mini-golf, she was transferred to Go Karts. It just so happened that Tom was already working at Go Karts. The two kicked it off and became fast friends, but at the end of the season, Heather had to return to Duluth.
The two continued to email, and with the invention of Facebook, remained in contact for 16 years. Heather moved to Minneapolis where Tom was living and after a night of reminiscing about their days riding Ripcord together, the two decided to meet up to attend the St. Patrick’s Day parade together. “By the end of that night, I knew I was going to marry Tom,” Heather reminisced.
In 2013, the couple got married at Picnic Point. They even heard “one-two-three, fly!’ during the middle of their wedding vows – the sound of Ripcord being released into a wonderful free fall. Heather and Tom now share three children and are anxiously awaiting Valleyfair to reopen to take the whole family on an exciting and memorable adventure.
Rebecca and Aaron
Rebecca’s life changed the day she started working at Valleyfair as a Magician’s Assistant in the Live Entertainment department. It wasn’t the excitement of starting a new job with the thrilling possibility of being cut in half. It wasn’t learning how to escape being tied to any chair or obstacle.
Everything changed when she met her “super good looking” co-worker, Aaron. Rebecca, who is a fan of baking, quickly learned that Aaron would stop by more frequently when she brought goodies, so that became a part of her summer routine.
Rebecca only worked at Valleyfair for one summer but that was enough to make a lasting impression on Aaron. The two decided to start dating and had their first date at a beautiful restaurant located on a lake. Sparks continued to fly, and the couple was married in the summer of 2012. Today the two live in Macau, SAR of China with their 18-month-old son, Foster.