Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Applause Award Scandal: Busch Gardens Stripped of Title

In a shocking development that rocked the amusement park industry tonight, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was stripped of its honor as the 2002 Applause Award winner. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) made the decision to strip an Applause Award winner of its crown for the first time in history because of the park’s “conduct unbecoming a worldwide representation of fun and wholesomeness.”

Although IAAPA did not officially list the particular reasons for Busch Gardens’s exit from the organization’s acclaim, ARN&R can exclusively report that the Williamsburg-based themer will be appearing in a sexy centerfold for the next issue of Amusement Business. An IAAPA source who demanded anonymity stated that “The rule guide for parks seeking this award clearly states what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for contestants. And explicit centerfolds involving Applause Award winners are certainly not acceptable.” The spokesman also added that the “hot park-on-park action,” featuring shots of coasters at both Busch Gardens Williamsburg and sister park Busch Gardens Tampa, was considered "incredibly tasteless” by the organization.

According to a statement by IAAPA, the Applause Award lauds an amusement park "whose management, operations, and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development."

IAAPA announced that it will acknowledge a different park as the Applause Award winner for 2002: Maine’s Palace Playland. IAAPA officials claimed Palace Playland is the most logical choice to receive the highest and most respected honor bestowed upon amusement venues, as “[its] superior image, infrastructure, rides, theming, customer service, and entertainment package will distance IAAPA from such riffraff as Busch Gardens.” An organizational spokewoman added, “It was a really close vote anyway, so we feel Playland’s victory is an untainted one.”

In making its decision, IAAPA representatives stressed the small Maine seaside resort’s “only sort-of rusted and overbraked” production-model Galaxi coaster, “at least 37%-operable” fun house, “kind-of-nearby vagrant parking operations,” food that “verges on being fit for consumption by farm animals,” and “merely occasional open fistfights” as primary factors in the park’s being chosen.

When queried about the honor by ARN&R, an undisclosed Palace Playland employee stated, “I guess with all this extra attention, we’ll have to hire someone to hose down the bathrooms three or four times next season, huh?”