By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 04, 2022 at 5:08 PM

On Feb. 1, the Bronze Fonz sculpture went in for some cosmetic work but he will return to his perch on Friday, March 11. The return will be marked with a 1 p.m. reinstallation and unveiling ceremony.

“VISIT Milwaukee’s social media, emails, and phones have been flooded with love for the Bronze Fonz and excitement for his return,” said Peggy Williams-Smith, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee on Friday.

“He is a popular stop and photo opp for Milwaukee visitors as well as locals. We wanted to ensure that we are keeping this beloved public work of art in excellent condition.”

Vanguard Sculpture Services removed the statue for examination and restoration. The work was the first time the statue had undergone maintenance since it was installed in 2008.

According to Visit Milwaukee, "Vanguard Sculpture Services recommended removing the paint completely from the Fonz and replacing it with a traditional patina for bronze, allowing for easier upkeep and maintenance. Though the Bronze Fonz now has a truly all-over bronze look, the statue has varying shades for visual effect. For example, his jacket will be a darker shade while his T-shirt will have a lighter shade."

The statue is a salute to Arthur Fonzarelli, a fictional character from the 1970s television sitcom "Happy Days," which was set in Milwaukee.

“Vanguard Sculpture Services’ expertise and care for the Bronze Fonz has been so valuable,” Williams-Smith said. “Having worked on such a wide array of artworks – including a small role working with the artist when this statue was first created – Vanguard’s brought a knowledgeable perspective to the project.”

The return ceremony will offer Bronze Fonz postcards and stickers, a number of speakers and an announcement of the winner of contest that encouraged folks to take photos of themselves standing in the Fonz's spot and post them to social media. There will also be food samples afterward at the nearby Newsroom Pub on Wells Street.

“With so many heavy things happening in our world right now, we hope this event provides some levity and fun,” Williams-Smith said. “This is really an opportunity to hang out on the RiverWalk with one of Milwaukee’s coolest characters.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.