The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), has announced the winners of a prestigious Brass Ring Awards for 2021, to be celebrated at the upcoming IAAPA Expo.
Recognising achievements of excellence across the global industry, the coveted IAAPA Brass Ring Awards are among the most anticipated professional honours awarded to the industry, recognising attractions such as amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums and family entertainment centres (FECs) around the world.
Categories this year include food and beverage, games and retail, human resources, live entertainment and marketing.
However, despite IAAPA proclaiming itself as "the global association for the attractions industry", and with Asia's theme park attendances set to soon exceed those of North America, of the winners of the 35 Brass Ring Awards, 26 come from North America (22 come from the USA and four from Mexico), and just three from Asia.
The Asian winners were Universal Studios Japan in the Most Creative Christmas Show category, Ocean Park Hong Kong for the Most Creative Property-wide Event (for attractions with an annual attendance more than one million) and Enchanted Kingdom from the Philippines for Best Employee Engagement Initiative (for attractions with an annual attendance less than one million).
Australia’s URBNSURF Melbourne won the IAAPA Brass Ring for Most Creative Property-wide Event (for attractions with an Annual Attendance less than one million).
Winners of this year’s IAAPA Brass Ring Awards:
Top Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) of the World
• Awarded to Scene75 Entertainment Center Columbus, Dublin, Ohio, USA
Food and Beverage Excellence
• Best New Menu Item: Reese’s Stuff Your Cup, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
• Best New Food and Beverage Festival or Special Event: Dollywood‘s Flower and Food Festival, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
Games and Retail Excellence
• Best Plush: Remy Feature Plus, Disney Global Product Creation, Lake Buena Vista, Florida USA
• Best Apparel: Omega Mart Tattoo Chicken Ringer T-Shirt, Meow Wolf, Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
• Best Hard Good Item: Candy Land Hershey Edition, Hershey’s Chocolate World, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
• Best Visual Merchandising: 'Omega Mart Plenty Valley Produce Department', Meow Wolf, Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
• Best Midway Game Operation: Canobie Lake Park, Salem, New Hampshire, USA
• Judges Award: Coca-Cola Sponsored Games, Lagoon Amusement Park, Farmington, Utah, USA
Human Resources Excellence
• Best Employee Reward and Recognition Program - Annual Attendance more than 1 million: Knoebels Park and Resort, Elysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
• Best Employee Engagement Initiative
Annual attendance less than 1 million: Enchanted Kingdom, Laguna, Philippines
Annual attendance more than 1 million: Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA
• Best Innovation in a Training Program
Annual attendance less than 1 million: Meow Wolf, Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Annual attendance more than 1 million: LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Winter Haven, Florida, USA
Live Entertainment Excellence
• Best Atmosphere/Street Show Performance/Act: Magic Happens Parade, Disneyland Resort, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, Anaheim, California, USA
• Best Performer: Caleb Brown, Dollywood Parks and Resorts, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
• Best Live 'Edutainment' Show: Orca Encounter, SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA
• Best Theatrical Production
Annual attendance less than 1 million: El Último Cantar - The Last Song, Puy du Fou España SA, Toledo, Spain
Annual attendance more than 1 million: Xcaret México Spectacular, Grupo Xcaret, Quintana Roo, Mexico
• Most Creative Christmas Show: The Crystal Promise, Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan
• Most Creative Halloween Haunt, Show, or Experience: Oogie Boogie Bash - A Halloween Party, Disneyland Resort, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, Anaheim, California, USA
• Most Creative Multimedia Spectacular: La Clé des Songes, Futuroscope, Vienne, France
• Most Creative Sports/Stunt Show: Winter Wonderland on Ice, SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Florida, USA
• Most Creative Property-wide Event:
Annual attendance less than 1 million: For The Love Event, Surfing & Lifestyle Series, URBNSURF Group, Australia
Annual attendance more than 1 million: Gala of Lights, Ocean Park Corporation, Hong Kong, China
Excellence in Marketing
• Best Digital Marketing Campaign: 'Monster - King of Roller Coasters', Gröna Lund, Stockholm, Sweden
• Best Integrated Marketing Campaign: Spider, Fantasilandia, Santiago, Chile
• Best Outdoor Advertisement - Dual winners: 'Explore Wonder!' Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, SC, USA, and 'Grandes Sonrisas' (Bigger Smiles), Grupo Xcaret, Quintana Roo, Mexico
• Best Public Relations Campaign - Dual winners: Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger Tease and Announcement, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA, and '360˚ Xafety,' Grupo Xcaret, Quintana Roo, Mexico
• Best Radio or Streaming Audio Commercial: Sharks Exhibit Advertising Campaign, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, USA
• Best Social Media Campaign: 'Sleep with the Sharks' Influencer Campaign, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
• Best Television or Digital Video Commercial
Annual attendance less than 1 million: 'To Travel is To Live,' Lakewood Camping Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA
Annual attendance more than 1 million: 'Vitamina X,' Grupo Xcaret, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The brass ring has been a tradition dating back to the 1800s when park guests were challenged to reach for a ring while riding a carousel. Most rings were iron, however grabbing the single brass ring was a celebrated accomplishment and rewarded (often with a free ride).
For more information on the 2021 IAAPA Expo, running from 16th to 19th November at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida, USA, click here to view event details in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar.
Images: Ocean Park's award winning Gala of Lights (top, credit: Ocean Park), Universal Studios Japan's Crystal Promise Christmas Show (middle, credit: Universal Studios Japan) and corporate event at URBNSURF Melbourne (below, credit: URBNSURF/Ed Sloane Photography).
About the author
Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management
Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.
As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.
Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.
Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.
Read more from this author
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21st August 2020 - Asian attractions and theme parks events look to bounce back in 2021
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30th January 2020 - Dubai Global Village recognised among the top four most visited entertainment destinations in the world
23rd December 2019 - Attendances at Disney’s theme parks beats the world’s top sporting leagues
21st November 2019 - Asian attractions recognised at IAAPA’s annual Brass Ring Awards
21st October 2019 - New Universal Studios in Beijing to use facial recognition for guest access
5th August 2019 - Reports chart ongoing growth of Chinese theme parks
27th May 2019 - World’s busiest waterparks see ongoing attendance rise
23rd May 2019 - Attendance at the world’s themed attractions exceeds half a billion visits for the first time in history
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2nd August 2016 - Universal Studios Japan to bring ‘Godzilla’ to life via 4D attraction
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7th March 2014 - Philippines’ Enchanted Kingdom unveils 10-year expansion program