Every year about now, all of us get revved up with spring fever.

The sun is out. The flowers are blooming. The temperatures are rising. The days are lengthening. Summer vacation is approaching. As Wisconsinites, we know how to pack 12 months of outdoor fun into five (if we’re lucky) months.

But this year, that enthusiasm is like it has bulked up on steroids. The year of fear is starting to shrink in our rearview mirrors and we can finally let our hair down and begin life in the post-pandemic world.

Certainly, we still have to exercise precautions — and for goodness sake, get your vaccine; what are you waiting for! — but this is the summer to celebrate that we somehow survived the most bizarre era of our lives.

Riverfest, Dodge County Fair, Jefferson County Fair, State Fair — one after another have announced that — with appropriate precautions — they will resume the summer fun that we all took so much for granted before this. Prince once wrote that we should party like it’s 1999; now we need a similar anthem for partying like it’s 2021, or maybe 2020-won!

We all need to get outside and see people again, to act just plain normal and to appreciate the joy of living without the grim reaper leering over us. Take that, COVID-19!

Almost 2 million people or more than a third of Wisconsinites have gotten their shots and have the best protection science has found so far. We still have a lot more work to do. We’re nowhere close to herd immunity. In fact, more than 800 people a day are still succumbing in America’s Dairyland. Although the death rate is down, we are not out of the woods yet.

But businesses are opening up. Jobs are returning. Restaurants and bars are edging closer to again being the gathering places we know and love. Even many high schools are brining back prom, sometimes more than one of them.

And people whose savings accounts are packing federal cash from the stimulus and relief funds, are happy to buy things again, both products and services — presuming that interruptions to the supply chains don’t hold them back.

Nobody knows when things will be 100% returned to times gone by. In fact, we might never be quite the same as we were in the before times. But one thing is certain and that is that we all deserve some kind of reward for our resiliency.

We somehow got through the shortages, the protests, the politics, the sanitizing, the cancelations, the isolation, the worries, the streaming, and the abomination that was the pandemic.

So starting today, and again with an abundance of caution, start celebrating that summer fun is back and you have license to enjoy it. If you have the shot in the arm (or two), give the economy and your peace of mind a shot in the arm, too.

It’s time to get outside and flash that smile — at a distance, of course — that we have all missed for longer than we ever imagine. We’re Wisconsinites; let the (smart) fun begin with us!

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