Ocean Park’s brand new “Wild Twister” ride spices up the glittering holiday season

By | December 6, 2019

Ocean Park is set to unleash a series of incredible attractions this Christmas running all the way to January 2020. To kick off the joyous season, “Ocean ParkChristmas Sensation” will run through 7 December 2019 to 1 January 2020, featuring amazing photo taking destinations, festive food and beverage offerings and special offers for Hong Kong residents on admission tickets of up to 30% off. As December progresses, the excitement will ramp up with the debut of a brand-new thrilling ride, “Wild Twister”. The Park will also launch its latest night-time entertainment experience, “Gala of Lights”, in January 2020. The new experience will feature spectacular multimedia shows, a unique interactive and customisable shopping experience, eating options galore as well as a collection of show and dining packages.

Glittering Photo Spots to Enchant Guests
This year, Ocean Park’s Christmas attractions will be even more fashionable and trendier than ever, with all kinds of fantasy effects to immerse guests in a contemporary Christmas, as well as offering them Instagrammable photo opportunities. From the bright and artistic “Crystalline Christmas Tree presented by Sino Group” to “Shimmering Christmas Forest”, guests will certainly be enchanted by the dazzling glitter of the installations under the winter sunlight. Santa Claus and his elves will also make special appearances at the gift-box-shaped “Santa’s Christmas Cottage”, where guests can capture their Christmas memories with these celebratory icons.

Kids can then bring along their parents to Whiskers Harbour, where they can participate in fun and interactive games in “Whiskers & Friends Conservation Adventure”, all-the-while learning important things about conservation. Guests can challenge each other with interactive “Ocean Defenders” and “Save the Penguins” games and learn about conservation while having fun as a family.

From 7 December 2019 to 5 January 2020, Ocean Park will also launch a Hong Kong residents-exclusive “Winter Promotion” with ticket-for-two package. Guests can enjoy a discount of up to 30% on admission for two adults at HK$700 and for two children at HK$350.

Waterspout-inspired Ride to Spice up Festive Fun
Arriving at Ocean Park on 20 December, the brand-new waterspout-inspired “Wild Twister” ride will spice up the festive fun with screams and laughter, challenging daredevils with an extreme experience as its arms swinging and spinning crazily on their own separate axes, at an extreme acceleration of up to 4G. The ride merges its intense movement with a magnificent view of the South China Sea, taking adventurous guests on a voyage reminiscent of being in the middle of a waterspout.
To help guests prepare for the thrilling journey ahead, the ride experience starts with a simulated tornado installation at the waiting zone, as well as a fun yet educating video featuring Leung Wing-mo, former Assistant Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, who will enthral guests with fun facts about waterspouts. Guests can also download the “Wild Twister AR” mobile app with mini games and selfie effects for photo opportunities and an immersive ride experience.

All-new Night-time Offerings to Extend Guests Stay
To offer guests with an enhanced all-round experience, Ocean Park will also launch an all-new night-time entertainment experience, “Gala of Lights”, on 10 January 2020. From 6:30pm to 10:00pm every night, the permanent daily offerings will bring guests on an extraordinary adventure in an oceanic wonderland, featuring never-before-seen multimedia shows, exciting interactive experiences, dining options galore, and an array of unique souvenirs.

“With one-stop offerings from entertainment, dining to shopping, ‘Gala of Lights’ will offer guests every reason to stay late into the evening. It is also a milestone of the Park’s transformation into a resort destination with diversified entertainment being available. Different dining packages will be on offer to attract working adults and other young audience segments to enjoy an after-work visit to the Park, as we are keen to expand our customer base and strengthen our appeal to this age group,” said Rosalind Siu, Executive Director, Sales, Marketing and Public Affairs of Ocean Park.

Mind-blowing Multimedia Shows to Capture Guest’s Hearts
As the highlight of the oceanic adventure, guests will be introduced to “Soul of the Ocean”, a one-of-a-kind immersive show created by Moment Factory, the Montreal-based award-winning multimedia studio. Spectators will meet ANIMO, an ancient spirit in the heart of Ocean Park’s Aqua City Lagoon and mysterious Lagoon Keepers, that dance with water and play with light as they tap into the powerful frequencies of the natural world in their nightly rituals. This 12-minute spectacle features a tailor-made combination of original music, spectacular projection mapping, and surprising special effects, including flaming jets, lasers, mist and dancing water fountains. In addition, a breath-taking performance with a cast of 20 artistes from around the world, directed by artist collective The 7 Fingers, will complete the experience.

The grand finale of this evening is an inspirational journey through the city, with “Visions of Hong Kong”, a multimedia fountain show also created by Moment Factory. Guests will travel through impressionist landscapes that feature the iconic city’s lush natural beauty, architectural wonders, and many cultures, as lights and fountains dance before their eyes.

Time-limited Gourmet Food to Bring Excitement to Your Taste Buds
To indulge guests from their eyes to their taste buds, a variety of gastronomy options will be presented together with the amazing shows, including two “Soul of the Ocean Show Dinner” menus, the exquisite and scrumptious “Heritage and Precious Tasting Menu” designed by internationally acclaimed chef Qu Hao, using 200-year-old Japanese Hamadaya soy sauce and ingredients from Kumamoto, and “Ginger Grill’s Gala Dinner Set” featuring authentic Thai favours. Choices of snacks and wines will also be available at the food kiosks and bar at Lakeside Chill. Guests can purchase show dinning packages to enjoy the multi-media shows at the designated deck.

Customisable Souvenirs to Remember a Magical Evening
A wonderful evening is not complete without a souvenir to mark this extraordinary adventure. Unique and customisable merchandise available only at OPX, the Park’s experiential store, will provide the perfect take home gifts. On top of a range of “Gala of Lights” themed souvenirs, guests can also mix and match their favourite graphics and icons to produce their very own customised souvenirs inside the store.

To support the promotion of social inclusion and the development of the local arts industry, Ocean Park is collaborating with ADAM Arts Creation, a social enterprise set up by Arts with the Disabled Association Hong Kong. Together they have commissioned three local artists with disabilities, Alvin Li Tze Shun, Apple Tong Wing Yin and So Tat Shing, to design a series of themed artworks based on Ocean Park, Hong Kong or animals which guests will be able purchase.

Packages of “Gala of Lights” will be available from 1 January 2020, along with a series of grand opening offers to celebrate the event’s launch. Guests can enjoy a discount of up to 33% on packages for 10 January to 31 March, by simply booking through the Park’s website.

Jack Scott Silar of Hershey, Pennsylvania passes

By | December 5, 2019

Jack Scott  Silar, 71, of Hershey passed away on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 surrounded by his loving family.. He was born on July 20, 1948 in West York, PA, the son of the late Jack V. and Cordelia (Bridgen) Silar.

He was a 1966 graduate of Hershey High School and 1968 graduate of Harrisburg Area Community College. Jack earned the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He attended the US Army Intelligence School at Fort Holabird and then completed a tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam as a Counter Intelligence Specialist. Jack earned two  Army Commendation Medals for Meritorious Service during operations against a hostile force. Additional medals earned were the Vietnam Campaign Medal W/60 Device and the Vietnam Service Medal W/2 Stars.

Following his tour of duty he served in many management positions at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts including General Manager of Hersheypark and Vice President of Sports & Entertainment.  He was the owner of White Rose Amusements, a family operated carnival amusement company and Midway Management Services, an amusement safety consultant company.

Jack was a member of the Messiah Lutheran Church in Harrisburg; Brownstone Masonic Lodge #666 in Hershey and the Harrisburg Consistory. He was also a Life Member and former Chief Officer of the Hershey Volunteer Fire Company.   Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials and served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions; also past President and Chairman of the Board of the Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Association; and served on various Board Committees for the Pennsylvania Showmen’s Association.

Surviving are: his wife of over 49 years, Gretchen (Rhoads) Silar; daughter, Lori (Silar) Zarefoss and husband Troy; son Scott Silar and wife Brooke; grandchildren Owen and Lydia Zarefoss and Jake Silar all of Hershey; and his sister Jill (Silar) Richael and husband John of Lake Havasu, AZ.

Funeral services will be held at 11am on Tuesday, December 10th in the Hoover Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., Hershey. Visitations will be held on Monday, December 9th from 5-7pm and also beginning one hour prior to the service on Tuesday Interment with military honors will be in the Hershey Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers  memorial contributions may be made to the  Hershey Volunteer Fire Company,  21 West Caracas Avenue.  Hershey, PA  17033.

Monday, December 09, 2019 
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Hoover Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. of Hershey
88 Lucy Ave. 
Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033

Funeral Service
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 
11:00 AM
Hoover Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. of Hershey
88 Lucy Ave. 
Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033

Embed completes installation at Fun City’s 50th store location in Oasis Mall, Salalah Oman

By | December 5, 2019

Dubai, UAE — Embed is proud to announce the completion of the Embed systems installations in the newly opened Fun City  in Oasis Mall. Owned by Landmark, this is Fun City’s 50th store, located in Salalah, the second largest city in Oman.

Embed’s involvement includes 44 award-winning smartTOUCH readers, 2 point-of-sale SALES modules and 2 PRIZES modules. Embed’s integrated solution allows Fun City to focus on their guests and run their business with ease, creating a seamless experience for their customers.

“Embed’s integrated solutions and services have been created to help our operators take their business to the next level. One of the benefits of our platform is that it’s modular, so if you are a business with multi-locations, you can have real time visibility and control across your entire operation, counting on us to support you anytime, anywhere,” said Renee Welsh, CEO Solutions Group.

Gateway Ticketing Systems on Top 100 list of Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania for seventh time

By | December 5, 2019

Gilbertsville, Pa. — Gateway Ticketing Systems® has been named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2019. They were named the 21st best company in the Medium Employer Category (100 – 249 U.S. Employees). This is Gateway’s seventh time receiving the award, which was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania that are benefiting the State’s economy and its workforce. In 2018, Gateway was ranked #26.

Companies began the application process in March of this year. Once registered, a survey was administered to both employees and employers at hundreds of companies across our commonwealth. Winners are chosen based on who receives the highest combined scores in a twofold evaluation: a review of a company’s workforce policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics, along with the results of an employee survey measuring employee satisfaction. Using a formula similar to Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” the Best Companies Group surveys and scores the workplace and each candidate is given an overall score.

“We are proud to receive this recognition, especially since it’s determined primarily through employee feedback,” says Michael Andre, President and CEO of Gateway Ticketing Systems. “Gateway’s leadership team strives to build a company culture focused on employee well-being and job satisfaction.”

Michael adds: “Employee experience is a top priority that drives our business forward. We work hard to provide an uplifting work environment with cutting-edge technological amenities and benefits that show we truly appreciate our employees.”

Gateway Ticketing Systems was recognized at the Best Places to Work in PA awards banquet on Thursday, November 21st alongside over 1,000 guests from all corners of the commonwealth at the Lancaster County Convention Center in downtown Lancaster, PA.

Space Center Houston breaks all-time attendance record

By | December 4, 2019

HOUSTON, Texas — The nonprofit Space Center Houston, the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center and a Certified Autism Center, has welcomed more than 1.1 million visitors to date, marking its highest annual attendance since opening in 1992. This milestone comes with one month to go in the year and just as the center is offering a new holiday tradition, Space Center Houston’s Galaxy Lights, presented by Reliant.

“Space Center Houston has made significant strides in offering exceptional, authentic science and space exploration learning opportunities for everyone,” said William T. Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston. “We are dedicated to advancing innovation and creative thinking to engage visitors in how science, technology, engineering and mathematics are relevant to our everyday lives as well as exploring space.”

The leading science and space exploration learning center is on pace to surpass last year’s attendance by 15 percent. This year it set record-breaking attendance nine out of 11 months including its best Spring Break, June, July and Labor Day weekend. Since 2012, the center has experienced an exponential 70 percent increase in growth from nearly 500,000 annual visitors.

Recognized as the No. 1 destination in Houston for international visitors according to Houston First, the center continues to draw people from around the world to explore the science and space exploration learning center and to participate in its leading educational programs. 

Attendance rocketed this summer with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Space Center Houston drew visitors from 49 countries for its series of events with Apollo legends, astronauts and its first outdoor concert. On the anniversary of the Moon landing, the center experienced its best single day attendance ever with more than 13,000 people. The center continues to offer new science learning opportunities for people of all ages. Don’t miss Space Center Houston’s new interactive fall exhibit Playing with Light, which explores light through engaging experiments and the all-new holiday experience Galaxy Lights, presented by Reliant. Galaxy Lights is the most technologically advanced light display in Texas and is open nightly through Jan. 5. For more information about activities, hours of operation and tickets during this unique holiday adventure, visit spacecenter.org/galaxylights.

Riversport OKC selected to host 2020 U.S. Olympic team trials for Whitewater Slalom

By | December 4, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City will host the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom for both men and women at RIVERSPORT Rapids and Adventures in downtown OKC. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater will consist of two rounds of competition taking place over two weekends this Spring.

This is the second time in four years Oklahoma City has been selected to host the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom.

“The Olympic movement is alive in Oklahoma City,” explained executive director Mike Knopp.

“In 2016, the year we opened RIVERSPORT Rapids, we hosted Road to Rio ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” said Knopp. “We held the second round of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom that year. This time we’re getting both rounds.”

“The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee expects a certain level of excellence,” said Knopp. “We have delivered time and time again.”

“Plus, our proximity to great hotels and restaurants in Bricktown and Downtown made their decision a no-brainer.”

RIVERSPORT’s National High Performance Center in the Boathouse District has also been selected to hosted Team USA’s Next Olympic Hopeful talent identification program two years in a row.

Well-known paddlers expected to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom include,

  • Evy Leibfarth – The 16-year-old is a rising international star in whitewater slalom. Evy placed 4th in the Slalom World Championships. She is a top contender and is expected to be given a spot on Team USA’s Whitewater Slalom team.
  • Casey Eichfeld – Slalom Canoeist Casey Eichfeld is a regular on Team USA. He competed in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympic games.
  • Joshua Joseph – Another young standout, Joshua Joseph started kayaking at age 6. Now 18 years old, he has two ICF Junior World Championships to his name and dreams of joining Team USA in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Nancy Smith named 2020 Chair of IAFE

By | December 4, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Nancy Smith, CFE, of the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia was elected the 2020 chair of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) today during the final business session of the 129th IAFE Annual Convention. The convention began Dec. 1 and continues through today at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Smith serves as the general manager of the South Carolina State Fair and has more than 30 years of experience in the fair industry. She began her fair work in the home and craft department of the South Carolina State Fair in 1983 and assumed a full-time position at the fair in 2000 as director of entertainment and exhibits and eventually directed the State Fair’s marketing, advertising, and sponsorship departments. Smith was promoted to assistant manager of the fair in February of 2008 and was named secretary/treasurer/general manager in January of 2018.

Smith is a graduate of the Institute of Fair Management and earned her Certified Fair Executive (CFE) designation from the IAFE in 2006. She has since remained actively involved in the fair industry statewide and internationally.

She served as IAFE Zone 2 director from 2015 to 2017, representing South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. She was named second vice chair of the IAFE in 2018, assisting the chair with executive responsibilities associated with the organization in preparation for her role as IAFE chair in 2020. She served on the South Carolina Association of Fairs’ board of directors for several years and completed two terms as president from 2013 to 2016, while hosting and planning the association’s summer meetings several years.

Smith was awarded the Honorary State FFA (Future Farmers of America) Degree in 2010 and the Honorary American FFA Degree in October of 2018.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Smith previously operated a catering business. She is a member of First Presbyterian Associate Reformed Church in Columbia and serves on the SC Philharmonic’s Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of the Babcock Center Foundation.

The South Carolina State Fair, the state’s largest event, is a self-supported, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving the state’s agricultural roots while supporting statewide education. The State Fair awards more than $300,000 in scholarships each year.

Tom Morrow Dinner sponsors

By | December 3, 2019

The New England Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (NEAAPA) held its annual Tom Morrow Dinner & IAAPA Social during November’s International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo in Orlando, Fla. The gala event was held at Maggiano’s Little Italy and sponsored by a number of NEAAPA members. The sponsors in attendance were (from the left): Gaylee Gillim and Jerry Landers, International Amusement & Leisure Defense Association; Michael Marra-Powers, Premier Rides; Brian Ramdat, NXT Capture; Sara Seay, Premier Rides; Jackie Thomas, Uncommon USA; Gary Slade, Amusement Today; Tom Tessitore, National Ticket; Josh Hays, S&S Worldwide; Carl Berni, Canobie Lake Park. The dinner honors the late Tom Morrow, a past president of NEAAPA and operations manager at Canobie Lake Park, Salem, N.H., who became affectionately known as “Mr. NEAAPA” for his years of dedication to the association. More than 140 attended the event. (NEAAPA photo).

Criss Neiman named Executive of the Year

By | December 3, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — At the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) 129th Annual Convention, held Dec. 1-4 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, Criss Neiman of the Wyoming Association of Fairs (WAF) was named the State and Provincial Associations of Fairs Executive of the Year. The Executive of the Year Award goes to an association executive who has been in this position for at least five years. They have to be recommended by their association and are judged on their participation and contributions to their respective association and the State and Provincial Associations of Fairs.

Neiman has served as executive director of the WAF for the past 10 years. She has also served as manager of the Crook County Fair in Sundance, Wyo., and as assistant manager at the Central States Fair and Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, S.D. She has donated her time to the Wyoming State Fair Advisory Board and on Wyoming State Fair’s 100th Anniversary Planning Committee. In working with the sponsorship program at the Wyoming State Fair, Neiman has created a new invoicing system for sponsorship partners, created a new tracking system for sponsorships, and manages the Pig ‘n Mud event during the Wyoming State Fair.

In her current position, Neiman has created and maintained a new website for the organization; created a master vendor/entertainers/associate member e-mail and mailing list; and is a master of organization. She is constantly trying to improve her knowledge by attending workshops and networking with others on current industry topics. She has an extensive lineup of resources that she is willing to share to help answer questions.

Neiman was recognized as the Rocky Mountain Fair Person of the Year in 2016 and has received certified fair executive designation from the IAFE.

Kent Hojem inducted into IAFE Hall of Fame

By | December 3, 2019

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Today at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) 129th Annual Convention, Kent Hojem of the Washington State Fair in Puyallup was inducted into the IAFE Hall of Fame. The IAFE Convention is taking place Dec. 1-4 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The highest honor bestowed by the IAFE, the Hall of Fame Award is presented annually in recognition of an individual’s distinguished achievement in, or contribution to, the fair industry.

Hojem joined the Washington State Fair in March 1996 and has served as CEO since January 2005. He oversees all operations of the fair and fair properties, including the Washington State Fair each September and the Washington State Spring Fair each April. He also serves as secretary of the Washington State Fair Foundation. Prior to joining the state fair, Hojem served as assistant manager of the Southwest Washington Fair in Chehalis and later as manager of the Thurston County Fair in Lacey, Wash.

He served on the IAFE Board of Directors for many years, culminating in his service as chair in 2016. Hojem earned his Certified Fair Executive designation from the IAFE in 2009 and has served on numerous IAFE committees including the Physical Plant Operation and Nominating committees and as chair on the International Development, Budget and Finance, and Spring Conference committees.

Hojem has been involved in numerous youth and livestock committees and foundations over the years. He is past chair and current board member of Washington State 4-H Foundation and has served as past chair and currently serves as the facilitator for the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Institute. He is a board member and past chair of Communities In Schools in Puyallup and a past board member of Communities In Schools of Washington.

Hojem was born and raised in Chehalis, where he showed dairy cattle in 4-H. He was a mathematical sciences major at Stanford University. He and his wife Carolyn live in Puyallup and are surrounded by family, including Criss (wife, Andie) and Trent (wife, Toni), and four grandchildren: Tucker, Sydney, Monica, and Mackenzie.