Pandemic forces Tommy Bartlett Show to close for good
The year-round Tommy Bartlett Exploratory will remain open
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (WMTV) - After 69 years, the Tommy Bartlett Show is shutting down permanently.
The company made the announcement Wednesday, blaming the closure on “catastrophic” losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” President and co-owner Tom Diehl said in a statement.
The COVID-19 outbreak caused water-ski, sky, and stage show to shut down for the 2020 season back in May, but organizers hoped they would still be able to return for the shows’s 70th season.
Diehl explained, however, that the ongoing uncertainty about how long the pandemic will continue and how much that will affect people means the company cannot take the financial risk of starting its plans for a 2021 season.
Normally, the show would have had two performances daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
The company notes the closure will not lead to any immediate job losses. Over 100 seasonal employees were not able to work this past summer because of the 2020 cancellation. Otherwise, the show only maintains a staff of seven year-round employees.
The year-round Tommy Bartlett Exploratory will remain open, they note.
“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. 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.”
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