Tommy Bartlett Show in Wisconsin Closes Permanently

Wisconsin Dells (OnFocus) – Citing historic losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Tommy Bartlett Show is closing its doors for good.

 “This is not something we wanted to do,” said Tom Diehl, president and co-owner of the Tommy Bartlett Show, in a statement. “But in business, you have to make decisions separate from emotions.”

The show said the reason for its close is  “catastrophic loss of business.” The water-ski, sky and stage show, which brought in 90% of the business’ revenue, was canceled for 2020 because of restrictions on large gatherings during the pandemic.

The show typically runs from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, drawing around 2,500 spectators every day.

“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 announcement.

“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 has been a staple of our community for nearly 70 years and they will be dearly missed by both residents and loyal visitors,” the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau, Inc. said in a statement. “We wish them all the best.”

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism said in the announcement of the program that a reduction in travel has placed the state’s “tourism promotion infrastructure in danger, even risking outright collapse in the smallest of rural communities.”

Have fond memories of going to Tommy Bartlett’s? Complete the form below to let us know what you remember most about going to the show, and we’ll compile the results for a future article focused on how the show impacted us in central Wisconsin.

David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]