Huntington Beach, Calif., February 20, 2014- Visit Huntington Beach was awarded the prestigious Poppy Award at the 2014 Visit California Outlook Forum for their public relations campaign to save the Southern California beach bonfire rings.

The Visit California Poppy Awards honors industry leaders for the best in California's tourism marketing and promotion. Visit California received a record number of entries this year with 400 industry leaders and marketing professionals in attendance at the event on February 6 in Pasadena.

"Huntington Beach had the best example of crisis communications. Their finely focused campaign had one objective - save Huntington's iconic fire pit. An effective slogan helped drive amazing coverage and they rose up to save a California icon," said Caroline Beteta, CEO of Visit California.

Earlier this year, Visit Huntington Beach, along with the rest of Orange and Los Angeles County beaches, faced a grave threat to one of its most critical assets for attracting regional, national and global tourism: the iconic beach bonfire rings. By creating advocacy materials including a catch phrase of, "Keep Your Mitts Off Our Pitts," the team used social media and direct outreach to defeat the Southern California Air Quality Management District's ban proposal. Along the way, they enlisted the help of major community leaders and even landed the front page of the New York Times among other substantial coverage totaling over $1,500,000 in earned media. In turn, the Visit Huntington Beach campaign has enabled the fire pits to continue attracting tourists and generating revenue for the local economy.

"We're honored to receive a Poppy Award from Visit California." said Madison Fisher, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Huntington Beach "The Southern California and Huntington Beach communities came together to fight for our beloved tradition and save the bonfire pits. I'm thrilled to know the rings will remain on our beaches for future generations to roast s'mores over and enjoy."

About Visit Huntington Beach
Visit Huntington Beach is the official destination marketing organization of Huntington Beach, Surf City USA®. One of Southern California's premier coastal destinations, Huntington Beach is the ideal location for a California family vacation, relaxing weekend getaway, or group conference.

With 10 miles of wide-open sandy California beaches, Huntington Beach is a destination of choice for vacationers and business travelers alike. To plan your Surf City USA® vacation, or to learn more about Huntington Beach, see the Visit Huntington Beach website at or call 800-729-6232.
Surf City USA® is a registered mark of Visit Huntington Beach.