Valerie Kelton, Daughter of Tom Vandergriff, Living Her Dream at Six Flags
By Ryan Hunt
Posted on November 16, 2018, November 16, 2018

More than 50 years ago, in 1961, Valerie Kelton was 2 when her father, former Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff, was at the podium for the opening of Six Flags Over Texas in The American Dream City. Today, she is living her American Dream as the executive assistant to Steve Martindale, the park president.

“Steve is definitely someone I look up to tremendously for all that he has done for the park,” Kelton said. “It's like working at the park every day. You never know what you're going to get into.”

As Six Flags prepares to open this year's Holiday in the Park event, Kelton is amazed by the growth she's seen since the park opened in Arlington 57 years ago.

“My dad would be so proud and amazed that Six Flags Over Texas is still here, doing well and contributing to what is Arlington today and what will be tomorrow,” Kelton said.

Earlier this year, Six Flags Over Texas opened its newest ultimate super-villain thrill ride - Harley Quinn Spinsanity. The ride features a unique futuristic triple box design that allows the gondola to spin around three separate axes while rotating forward, backwards and sideways simultaneously at up to 70 feet in the air.

The excitement and growth happening in Arlington, both at Six Flags and throughout the community, is something Kelton is excited she still gets to experience each day.

“The American Dream to me means being a part of something great,” Kelton said. “I loved growing up here, I love being an adult here, I love having raised my children in this area and I'm very proud to be part of this community.”

Six Flags Over Texas' brightest holiday celebration kicks off in The American Dream City on Friday, Nov. 16. At this exclusive seasonal event, you'll find everything you need to celebrate the most wonderful time of year. Holiday in the Park is available on select dates from Nov. 16 through Dec. 31.

Click here to watch all of the American Dream Chapter videos on the City of Arlington's YouTube channel. You can also visit arlington-tx.gov/news/tag/american-dream-city/.

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