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Wis. Dells wraps up 'roller coaster ride' season

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:05:25 AM CST   Updated On: Sep 02 2013 02:08:08 PM CDT


Labor Day weekend marks the end of the busy summer season in Wisconsin Dells.

Business owners say the weather has cooperated to concoct a perfect end to the summer.

But how did the season go overall for the self-proclaimed "Waterpark Capital of the World"?

As water skiers hit the water to prepare for the final performances of the season of the Tommy Bartlett Show, executives admit  that business hasn’t been exactly booming this year.

"We're an outdoor attraction that relies on nice warm days to get people to come out here and sit," said Tom Diehl, president and general manager at the Tommy Bartlett Show. "We were down just a little bit this summer."

Diehl said they’ve been selling out shows for 61 seasons but that business was down about 4 percent this summer.

Executives at Noah’s Ark say this year’s traffic has been about the same as last year’s, thanks largely to some hot weather at the end of August.

"For the last three or four weeks it's just been great," said Amy Muller, director of marketing at Noah’s Ark. "Beautiful weather for people to come out to the park."

Noah's Ark will have hosted around 400,000 visitors by the time the season ends. That number is about the same as last year.

Managers are hoping that a warm Labor Day weekend will encourage even more folks to head to the water park.

"The hot weather happening now is just been a great year end," said Muller. "Because traditionally we're not super busy now, but we have been and it's been wonderful."

Tourism is of course big business in Wisconsin Dells, but not just for the outdoor attractions. Warm weather helps out businesses in the downtown area that rely heavily on foot traffic.

"It's been better than it has been the last couple of years," said Diane DiGregorio, owner of Signs of Distinction. "It’s been up for us, so we're grateful for that."

DiGregorio said that business this summer is up about ten percent. She said they aren't the only downtown business seeing a boost.

"We're trying to be more creative and come up with new ideas for some of the stores to keep it thriving," said DiGregorio. "We just hope people keep coming back and don't forget about downtown."

Executives at the Tommy Bartlett Show said that they are looking forward to finishing this season on a high note.

"Now we're ending with absolutely the most perfect weather this season," said Diehl. "So it's been a roller coaster ride."

Diehl said that one major positive is that they only had to shut down or close early this season due to inclement weather less than a handful of times. He said that statistic is usually the key to a successful season.

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