On July 4, 1926, a small amusement park with a swimming pool and carousel and a few food stalls opened in Northumberland County.
In 2016, this park celebrated its 90th anniversary.
This weekend, family-owned Knoebels Amusement Resort won a handful of Golden Ticket Awards from Amusement Today publication, including the Legend Award for owner Dick Knoebel.
“Dick Knoebel’s determination has made Knoebels Amusement Resort one of the finest traditional amusement parks in the country, if not the world. His preservation efforts, dedication to family and creative drive made him the second Legend Award recipient at the ceremony,” Amusement Today said.
The park’s roller coaster, the Phoenix, was named best wooden roller coaster for the fourth time. According to the publication, Phoenix transferred to Knoebels in 1985 from Texas.
Dick Knoebel told Amusement Today, “Our team is dedicated to meticulously maintaining every inch of Phoenix’s 3,200 feet of track. This ensures customers can enjoy a world-class experience from start to finish.
It’s been 75 years since this roller coaster opened as The Rocket at Playland Park. It just goes to show that a wooden roller coaster can provide timeless thrills when there is a commitment to preserving it.
Kennywood’s Jack Rabbit came in at No. 12 and Thunderbolt at No. 20 on this list, while Lightning Racer at Hersheypark was No. 14.
Knoebels also won for Best Food, Second for Best Customer Experience, and Third for Best Dark Ride, The Haunted Mansion.
For the Best Customer Experience award, Amusement Today said, “The family-friendly park in the hills of Pennsylvania offers free admission, free parking and an incredible laid-back atmosphere that never fails to charm visitors. Most new customers say there is no such thing.
Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster County has been named Best Family Park for the third consecutive year. Amusement Today said the award “focuses on rides that families can ride together, leans toward younger audiences over thrills, and doesn’t go upside down. The park delivers all of these elements in an atmosphere delicious.
THANK YOU! For the third time in a row, Dutch Wonderland wins the Golden Ticket Award for best family park. The prizes were awarded last night by @funtoday.
Thank you to all voters, our team members and YOU for creating memories with us generation after generation! pic.twitter.com/DtTfFdtP8S
— Dutch Wonderland (@FUNatDW) September 11, 2022
Kennywood in West Mifflin was shortlisted for the Publisher’s Picks award.
“These recognitions are for things that could easily go unnoticed but are a direct result of someone ‘doing the right thing,'” said Gary Slade, publisher of Amusement Today. “Cutting-edge decisions keep happening. For us, being able to highlight this is a very enriching experience.
“Kennywood received the Publisher’s Pick: Renaissance Award for bringing back a beloved – and very historic – ride from the past. The Kangaroo was the only surviving ride of its kind in North America.
THANK YOU!!! We are extremely honored to receive the Publisher’s Pick Renaissance Award, alongside our friends at @firstridesfor the refurbishment and return of the Kangaroo to @funtoday Golden ticket price. ???? pic.twitter.com/TOn1PG4SVn
— Kennywood (@Kenny_Kangaroo) September 11, 2022
Kennywood picked up a runner-up spot for Best New Attraction Kangaroo.
For Best Park, Knoebels arrived on November 7 and Hersheypark at No. 9.
In the Top 25 Steel Coasters, Phantom’s Revenge in Kennywood came in at #13. Candymonium in Hersheypark was #19 and Skyrush, also in Hersheypark, came in at #23.
The awards are the result of an international survey.
“In addition to 23 categories voted on by the world’s most experienced park enthusiasts, industry journalists and ride providers, five special awards were presented to recognize significant contributions that demonstrate perseverance and leadership. “
The most awarded park was Dollywood with three – Best Customer Experience, Best Christmas Event and Best Children’s Space.