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 On December 7th, with a lively ceremony at the Courtyard Marriott International Airport Hotel, Istanbul, seven Turkish operators of the leisure industry were awarded the Golden Pony® Awards


Last week the beatiful ballroom of Marriott International Airport Hotel, in Istanbul housed the eleventh special edition of the Golden Pony® Awards event dedicated to amusement/theme parks, family entertainment centers, travelling shows and ride manufacturers.
Promoted and organized by the magazine Games & Parks Industry, the Golden Pony® Awards event is a well-known trademark – owned by Facto Edizioni. After its debut in 2002, the Award has grown year after year both in scope and renown to really become an internationally applauded event followed with interest and expectation by industry operators so much so that today the award recipients are over 250 from all over the world.
As Mr Tosetto, the patron of the event and publisher of Games & Parks Industry explained in his welcome speech to the over 300 guests of the event, the Golden Pony Awards Istanbul was the first event to be organized in Turkey. Essential on this regards was the co-operation of Tureks International Fairs, the organizer of ATRAX Expo 2012, that included the Golden Pony ceremony in their side events to the trade show, to be celebrated during their exhibitor welcome dinner.
Seven Awardees were carefully selected by the editorial staff of Games & Parks Industry from a large panorama of excellent operators in various industry sectors in Turkey and the surrounding countries. They were called one by one on stage with a loud voice by a mysterious oracle, guarded by centurions in full uniform and a Roman priest, which, according to a tale narrated by Mr Tosetto, was carried on the stage of Marriott Hotel, directly from ancient Rome, to fulfill the difficult task of pronouncing the winners names.
The waterpark category was beautifully represented by Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel, Izmir, a first level leisure facility combining a large waterpark featuring theming elements and state-of-the-art waterslides to a top level resort hotel. The family entertainment center category was represented by Starpark& Akturpark, the largest network of Fec in Turkey typically located inside shopping centers. Two awards were given to amusement park operators: one to Park Lunasan for its far-sighetd investment in a Giant Wheel, Körfez Günesi or Gulf Sun, already become a landmark for the city of Izmit, and the other to a veteran in the industry, Ümit Celasun, for his passion and professionalism in developing a far-rooted family business in the amusement park sector with the opening of three parks. The awards winners in the manufacturers category included a technology leader in waterpark products, with 2000 projects built in 82 countries worldwide, Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems, and a Turkish producer of dynamic cinemas and simulation products Simulator Entertainment, ready to bring their products to the internationl market. Last but not least, representing one of the fastest growing areas in Turkish entertainment was the largest themed aquarium in Turkey, Istanbul Akvaryum, an educational facilities conceived according to the latest trends in architectural and technological design.
In the words of M Tosetto “these people spend lots of time and money in inventing new attractions, in creating new parks or acquiring new rides. At times overcome enormous difficulties for the benefit of the wider community. This is why we’re pleased that their efforts are recognised not only in terms of practical results, but also with moral ‘prizes’ that aren’t life-changing, but make you feel good. The Golden Pony has no economic value, but rather is a symbol by which Games & Parks Industry magazine wants to highlight peaks of excellence, as well as the commitment and sacrifices of those who work in the sector, and at the same time encourage everyone to do better.
Eveybody will certainly remember the great evening for a long time, the magic and dynamism of its folk dancers all dressed in popular costumes as well the exciting bellydance performance. They must certainly be credited with giving the participants the full understanding and excitement of the most traditional lively face of Istanbul.

The recipients of Golden Pony Awards 2012- Istanbul were (in alphabetical order):

- Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa
- Istanbul Akvaryum
- Park Lunasan-Gulf Sun Wheel
- Polin Waterparks & Pool Systems
- Simulator Entertainment
- Starpark&Akturpark FECs
- Ümit Celasun-Luna Lunapark