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Dollywood takes top prize for Park of the Year

The Mountain Press

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September 06, 2007

PIGEON FORGE - It's hard to say what is the bigger honor for Dollywood - hosting the annual Golden Ticket Awards that spotlight the best in the theme park industry or winning the Publisher's Pick Award for Park of the Year. Nearly 90 professionals in the amusement industry made a visit to the Smoky Mountains Wednesday for the annual event, which Dollywood was tapped to host.

"It's a great honor for us to be asked to host these awards," Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens said. "We've worked really hard to give these amusement professionals a great experience while they've been here. This has been a great opportunity for us to showcase Dollywood."

The awards, which are in their 10th year, are organized by Amusement Today, a newspaper dedicated to theme and amusement parks. Amusement Today Publisher Gary Slade said the awards were created "to honor the best of the best in the amusement industry."

In addition to receiving the Publisher's Pick Award, Dollywood was also named as a finalist in more categories - from friendliest park to best new attraction for the Mystery Mine - than any other park. That standard of excellence played a role in the park being selected to host the event, Slade said.

"Dollywood is doing a great job," he said. "We wanted to show that off and, of course, they were excited to host us. They've been wonderful to us."

This year's event drew the largest crowd ever, which Slade also attributed to Dollywood's continuing effort to remain at the front of the amusement industry. Representatives from parks from Indiana to California to Florida were part of the event.

The awards are given based on surveys sent to amusement park fans around the world. For the first time in three years, Dollywood's Thunderhead roller coaster didn't take the prize as the top wooden coaster in the poll, with The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind. claiming that award.

More information and a complete list of winners can be found on the Web site www.amusementtoday.com


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