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Boardwalk named "best seaside amusement park"

Santa Cruz Sentinel

Original Article »

September 06, 2007

Hollywood has the Oscars. Television has the Emmys, Broadway the Tonys. The amusement industry has the Golden Ticket, and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is one of this year's winners.

The Boardwalk was named "Best Seaside Amusement Park" on Wednesday.

Boardwalk Vice President Tom Canfield, whose family has run the park since 1952, and Boardwalk spokesman Kris Reyes accepted the award at a ceremony hosted by Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

It's the first time the Boardwalk has won a Golden Ticket since the awards were created 10 years ago.

"We're very honored," said Charles Canfield, president of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Santa Cruz Seaside Co. "The award is really a great tribute to all of our dedicated employees, past and present, especially during our centennial year"

Like the Oscars, Golden Ticket winners are selected by industry insiders.

Amusement Today, a trade publication, sponsors the awards, inviting well-traveled amusement park enthusiasts from the United States and abroad to cast their votes.

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk garnered 49 percent, topping Pleasure Beach Blackpool in England, 21 percent, Morey's Piers in New Jersey, 12 percent, Belmont Park in San Diego, 4 percent, and Kemah Boardwalk in Texas, 3 percent. The seaside amusement park category was added this year; a marine life category was added the year before.

In addition, two Boardwalk rides got high ratings by Golden Ticket voters. The 1911 Looff Carousel ranked second to a carousel at Knoebel's Amusement Resort in Pennsylvania, and the 1924 Giant Dipper came in 22nd of the top 50 wooden roller coasters. Both rides are National Historic Landmarks.

The Boardwalk, a California historic landmark, celebrated 100 years this summer with free performances by the Moscow Circus and Friday night concerts. Besides thrill rides, the park offers restaurants, miniature golf, video game arcades and family bowling along a mile-long sandy beach.

Other Golden Ticket category winners: Legoland of California, best children's park; Seaworld Orlando, best marine life park; and Schlitterbahn, best waterpark. Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, won best park overall for the 10th year in a row.

Seaside amusement parks in America are a dwindling breed.

In the 1920s, the coasts were dotted with more than 1,500 waterfront parks; today, 24 remain as television, computers and video games have grabbed larger shares of the entertainment dollar.

Nine seaside parks have been shuttered since 2004. Myrtle Beach in South Carolina closed last year. Time ran out Monday for the famed Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., which is slated for development.

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