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Leisure Management - Awards Season

Show report

Awards Season

Operators, individuals and attractions across the industry were recognised for excellence, with prestigious awards handed out during the IAAPA Attractions Expo.

IAAPA’s awards programme recognises individuals and companies from across the globe who stand out as leaders
Michael Mercadante and Jennie Nevine at the Thea Award announcements
IAAPA recognized the 2018 IAAPA Service Award winners during the annual GM and Owners’ Breakfast, honouring individuals for their outstanding contributions to the global attractions industry
Hersheypark’s winter spectacle ‘The Enchanted Journey’ picked up a Brass Ring Award for Most Creative Christmas Show

Applause Award
During the event’s opening ceremony, Mexican cultural theme park Xcaret picked up the 2018 Applause Award (see p34).

Joining a prestigious list most recently featuring the likes of Busch Gardens, Puy du Fou and Ocean Park, the biannual award honours an attraction whose management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with foresight, originality and sound business development.

“With an original and creative vision, Xcaret has created one of the most unique and authentic park destinations in the world,” said Andreas Andersen, president and CEO of Liseberg and chair of the Applause Award Board of Governors.

Service Awards
During the kick off event, four men were honoured with IAAPA’s Service Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to the global attractions industry.

Julio Vanegas, founder and general manager of Carruseles in Bogotá, Colombia, was awarded for his 25 years of service to IAAPA and the wider attractions industry.

Jim Futrell, director at the National Amusement Park Historical Association, was presented with a Service Award in recognition of his work to foster the spirit of goodwill, professionalism, and higher levels of performance within the industry.

The Meritorious Service Award went to Robert Williams, general manager of Calaway Park in Calgary, Canada. The award recognises a member individual’s service to advancing IAAPA’s mission by promoting safe operations, global development, professional growth, and the commercial success of the amusement parks and attractions industry, something Williams has done for more than 25 years.

Finally, Al Weber Jr, who was set to lead IAAPA as its chair in 2019 before his death in 2016, was recognised as a visionary in the global attractions industry, being honoured with the IAAPA Board of Directors Special Service Award.

TEA Thea Awards
The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the winners of its annual Thea awards – to be presented later this year – during the IAAPA show.
Dollywood took home the Thea Classic Award, with the prestigious Buzz Price Thea Lifetime Award going to Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative and vice chair of Universal Parks and Resorts. The Bjarke Ingels-designed Lego House in Billund, Denmark, picked up the award for best Brand Centre, while Universal’s Volcano Bay in Orlando, Florida, was named best Water Theme Park.

At Six Flags Magic Mountain, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis was named best attraction, with Fantawild in Xiamen, China, chosen as the best theme park.

Brass Ring Awards
The annual Brass Ring Awards were also handed out at the expo, with a number of companies recognised for their achievements in excellence across different parts of the industry.

At Hersheypark, The Enchanted Journey was named the Most Creative Christmas Show, while the best at Halloween went to Hell’s Grand Finale at Ocean Park.

SeaWorld San Diego picked up multiple Brass Ring Awards, with the Sesame Street Party Parade winning the Best Atmosphere/Street Show Performance/Act category; its Pet’s Rule event named Most Creative Show Featuring Animals, and Cirque Electrique awarded the title of Most Creative Sports/Stunt Show.

Grabbing the Brass Ring
The Brass Ring awards mark achievements of excellence throughout the attractions industry

The IAAPA Brass Ring Awards are among the most prestigious professional honours awarded to companies. Among the winners of the 2018 IAAPA Brass Rings are:

Food and Beverage Excellence

  • Best New Menu Item: (Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million) “Poopies and Poopcakes,” Skånes Djurpark, Sweden
  • Best New Menu Item: (Annual Attendance More than 1 Million) “Chicken Bacon Ranch Tater Bowl,” Palace Entertainment, Newport Beach, California, US

Human Resources Excellence

  • Best Employee Engagement Initiative: (Annual Attendance Less than 1 Million) Great Wolf Lodge - Niagara Falls; Canada
  • Best Employee Engagement Initiative: (Annual Attendance More than 1 Million) “Dolphin Way at Work,” Grupo Dolphin Discovery, Mexico

Live Entertainment Excellence

  • Best Atmosphere/Street Show Performance/Act: “Sesame Street Party Parade,” SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, US
  • Most Creative Christmas Show: “The Enchanted Journey,” Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, US
  • Most Creative Halloween Haunt, Show, or Experience: “Hell’s Grand Finale,” Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong, China
  • Most Creative Show Featuring Animals: “Pets Rule,” SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, US
  • Most Creative Sports/Stunt Show: “Cirque Electrique,” SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, California, US

Excellence in Marketing

  • Best Digital Marketing Campaign: “The Poopie Movie,” Skånes Djurpark, Sweden
  • Best Public Relations Campaign: “Launch of the Haunted Mine Drop,” Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, US

Best new product exhibitor awards

  • Major Ride/Attraction – Class A: (Product cost of US$3 million or more) SlideWheel, wiegand.maelzer GmbH
  • Kiddie Ride/Attraction – Class A:(Standard Kiddie Ride/Attraction) Oscar’s Wacky Taxi, The Gravity Group
  • Water Park Ride/Attraction – Class A: (Product cost of US$2 million or more): FusionFortress 17, WhiteWater West
  • Best New Product Concept Award: (Major Ride Attraction) Stormforce 20, Ride Engineers Switzerland
  • Best New Product Concept Award: (Other Products/Services) Diving Theatre, VR Coaster GmbH & Co.KG
  • Best New Product Concept Award: (Attraction) Dynamic Duel Power Coaster, Dynamic Attractions
Zoomars’ Gillie Guinea Pig Plush picked up a Brass Ring award for merchandise

Originally published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 1
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06 Apr 2020 issue 153

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