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USA dominates winners list at IAAPA’s 2021 Brass Ring Awards

USA dominates winners list at IAAPA’s 2021 Brass Ring Awards
November 12, 2021

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

Nigel Benton

Co-founder/Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-founder 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.

In 2020, he 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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