By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 29, 2021 at 11:31 AM

The 3rd Street Market Hall's announced many, many, MANY new arrivals throughout the past year, but they saved perhaps the best – and definitely the oddest – for last: a bear. Wait, that can't be right. (*checks notes*) My apologies, I misspoke; I meant a tightrope-walking bear. That makes much more sense. 

No, it's not a real bear; back off, PETA. Instead, the 3rd Street Market Hall announced it will welcome Professor Stein – more famously known as the tightrope bear from Grand Avenue Mall – as its latest tenant. 

The impressively balanced and impeccably dressed seven-foot-tall bear statue first called the space home back when the mall first opened in 1982, riding his unicycle on a tightrope and wowing shopping crowds before coming down from his wire in 2004. Almost a decade later, the bear found his way to the Milwaukee Public Market, where the charming piece of Milwaukee mall history found a new home – until now, when it will return to its original one. 

“We’ve been proud to offer a temporary home to Professor Stein for the last nine years at the Public Market, where we’ve curated other relics that engender a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for our city,” said Paul Schwartz, executive director of the Milwaukee Public Market and Business Improvement District #2, in a release. "The Professor’s ‘homecoming’ is a great symbol of a reenergized Avenue development, and we look forward to exploring what will take his place at the market."

“The homecoming of Professor Stein celebrates an iconic period of Milwaukee history,” stated Omar Shaikh from 3rd St. Market Hall, in a release. “The intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and 3rd Street will once again return to its prestigious roots. Professor Stein’s returned residency at 3rd St Market Hall will remind visitors and Milwaukeeans alike of its past while cementing its future.”

Professor Stein and his unicycle will officially move back in to the 3rd Street Market Hall later this month. As for the rest of the new food hall and its ever-increasing list of eateries and vendors, the much-anticipated space is expected to open sometime in early 2022. For more on what's all to come, click here.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.