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Neighbors “Jump Around” to lift spirits during coronavirus pandemic, bring Badgers together worldwide


Above: Just a few clips of the hundreds of “Jump Around” videos posted in the Jump Around Wisconsin Facebook group.

When neighbors Joe Lahti and Greg Thomson shared a video of them and their neighborhood dancing to a song beloved by Badger fans everywhere, they never expected it to become a worldwide movement.

A few days prior to that fateful video, Lahti and Thomson were talking about different ways to bring some joy to their neighborhood amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We were talking about the balcony singing that was happening in Italy at the time and we thought ‘what could we do here that could have that kind of Wisconsin twist to it,” Lahti said. “We realized at the same time, Jump Around.”

Jump Around! What started out as something fun between neighbors Joe Lahti and Greg Thomson, now brings Badgers together worldwide.

“Jump Around,” the early 90s hit by House of Pain, is played between the 3rd and 4th quarter at Badger home games and has become a Wisconsin football tradition. Lahti and Thomson decided on using that tradition to bring together their neighborhood for a few minutes of fun and laughter.

They mentioned it to other neighbors, hooked up an old boombox to Spotify and jumped around while maintaining social distancing guidelines. When they uploaded that video to Facebook, it received some positive response and so they did it again, this time, with a radio transponder so that people could listen in anywhere they were.

Soon after, Lahti and Thomson were contacted by PBS Wisconsin and their story went live on the Wisconsin Life Page. That’s when their jump around videos blew up on social media. So, they decided to continue jumping around and created a Facebook group, which now has more than 100,000 members dedicated to the tradition.

“When we hit 1,500 people in the group we thought it wouldn’t grow any further,” Lahti said. “It just continued to grow.”

That’s when the radio stations started reaching out. Lahti was first contacted by 101 WIXX, who wanted to play “Jump Around” at a certain time so people could join in. Now, there are more than 103 radio stations across Wisconsin playing “Jump Around” every Saturday at 3 p.m. CT. Group members from around the nation then post their own “Jump Around” videos in the group.

Over 100 radio stations will carry Jump Around at 3 pm on Saturday.

In addition to bringing Badgers worldwide together, Lahti and Thomson have partnered with Wisconsin in RED, an apparel brand, and Razor Screen Printing to make Jump Around t-shirts, which were designed by Lahti’s 11-year-old daughter, Fynn. All proceeds are going to several Wisconsin charities.

“We’re living in uncertain times,” Lahti said. “There’s no playbook for what we have going on right now so what Greg and I wanted to do is just give people a little bit of happiness on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t see it exploding the way it did but we’re really excited to be involved with the community and just creating happiness.”