Tommy Bartlett Show in Wisconsin Dells to permanently close

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (CBS 58) --- After nearly seven decades, the iconic Tommy Bartlett Show in Wisconsin Dells is permanently closing. 

The owners say the closure is due to the catastrophic loss of business income from the pandemic fallout. 

In May, the owners of the venerable water-ski, sky and stage show made the decision to shutter the attraction for its 2020 summer run due to restrictions because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The show normally ran two shows daily from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Next summer would have been the show's 70th season.

When the show was shuttered for this season, officials say 115 seasonal employees lost their summer jobs. The owners say the permanent closure will not affect, at this time, the small staff of seven year-round employees of Tommy Bartlett, Inc. 

Read the full statement from president and co-owner of the Tommy Bartlett Show, Tom Diehl, below:

"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.”

The show began in 1952 and it was one of the longest-running live, outdoor entertainment show of its kind in the world. 

The company's year-round attraction, the Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, will remain open.

For more information about the history of the Tommy Bartlett Show, click here

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