The Tommy Bartlett Show in Wisconsin Dells is closing permanently because of business losses from the pandemic. 

The water-ski, sky and stage show was canceled for the 2020 summer season because of restrictions on large gatherings during the pandemic. The show typically runs from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. The show hoped it would reopen 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,” Tom Diehl, president and co-owner of the Tommy Bartlett Show, said in a news release Wednesday. “After 69 years, we are permanently shuttering the business.” 

The show had 115 seasonal employees. The Tommy Bartlett Exploratory will remain open. The company’s seven year-round employees will not be affected at this time. 

“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,” Diehl said in the news release.

“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 Tommy Bartlett Show started in 1952 as a touring water-ski exposition. It found a permanent home on the shores of Lake Delton in 1953. Throughout its history, more than 30 million visitors have watched one of its more than 18,7000 shows. 

Sarah Hauer can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @HauerSarah and Twitter @SarahHauer. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter Be MKE at 

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