Do A Happy Dance

Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin greets her first Milwaukee summer.

As a new Milwaukeean, I’m super excited about summer. From the sounds of it, June through August is going to be like a 90-day rager, in which all the pent-up energy from the other nine months of the year gets unleashed and the whole town doesn’t sleep again until September.

Working on the City Guide issue has certainly reinforced that idea. With so many festivals, concerts, running trails and boating opportunities, plus a plethora of other activities, it was a real challenge choosing what to feature on our pages. I hope you are as inspired by all there is to do as I am.

One of my favorite features in this issue is the collection of summer-themed essays. I particularly enjoyed reading about Claire Hanan’s stint selling lemonade at Miller Park, and Tom Tolan’s adventure working on a ship.

For me, the summer job that stands out is when I went on tour as a Care Bear. My try-out was a meet-and-greet in a suburban mall. Inside the suit, the environment was like something you’d find in a jungle. Hot. Humid. Smelly.

A store manager walked me to the designated spot, and young children appeared instantaneously, like ants to a picnic. As they pressed their tiny bodies against my dirty, mangy fur, my mouth curled upwards into a spontaneous grin inside the giant orb of my Care Bear head. I tried to embrace them all in a giant group hug.

When I graduated to the stage show, I got to take a star-turn with a Care Bear dance, the highlight of which was when I’d turn my backside to the audience and shake my tail. This crowd-pleaser generated an adulation so intense, I felt like the Elvis of the under-5 set.

But the initial headiness was soon undercut by a number of incidents – belligerent older kids mauling me at a zoo, an outdoor performance in the rain where I feared that one misstep of my giant paw might get me electrocuted, and an emergency landing of a plane that quickly brought me to my senses, making me realize I didn’t want my stint as a Care Bear to be the most noteworthy thing in my obituary. I ended up quitting the tour after less than a month. Still, the memories live on. And when I’m feeling the spirit of summer, I am sometimes moved to reprise my Care Bear jig.

What about summer in Milwaukee inspires you to do a jig, Care Bear-style or otherwise? Tell me at!

‘Do A Happy Dance’ appears in the 2016 City Guide issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the May issue on newsstands beginning May 30, or buy a copy at

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Editor-in-chief Carole Nicksin has worked in publishing for over 20 years. Prior to joining the staff of Milwaukee Magazine, she was the style director at All You, a Time Inc. publication. She also served as decorating editor at Home magazine. Carole has written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle and numerous other publications.