Tommy Bartlett Show to permanently close after 69 years

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WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — After nearly seven decades, the Tommy Bartlett Show in Wisconsin Dells announced Wednesday it will close permanently due to business losses during the pandemic.

According to a news release, the owners of the water-ski, sky and stage show made the decision in May to close its attraction this summer due to restrictions on large gatherings.

The show usually ran from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day. The release said they had plans to open next summer for its 70th season.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the Tommy Bartlett Show will not be able to make a comeback in 2021 as we had hoped. After 69 years, we are permanently shuttering the business,” said President and Co-Owner of the show Tom Diehl in a statement.

“From May through September 6, we experienced a complete loss of revenue when we had to cancel our 2020 summer season on Lake Delton due to the pandemic. Each fall, we begin to plan for the next season, and with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the pandemic and travel, we cannot undergo additional financial risk and investment to begin planning for summer 2021. While we are grateful that we have had almost seven decades of entertaining visitors in Wisconsin Dells, we have no choice but to close the Show.”

The release said 115 seasonal employees lost their jobs when the show was canceled this summer. The show employs seven year-round staffers, many of whom the release said had been with the show for decades.

The Tommy Bartlett Show had more than 18,700 shows throughout its history.