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Travel Channel's 'bizarre' host coming to Lake Geneva



NATIONAL ATTENTION - Aug. 29, 2009 — Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern will try to be a mailboat jumper on Gage's Walworth II Mailboat. It is not yet known when the show on the mailboat will air. - July 2009 — Discovery Channel working on a feature about the making of a Gage-Hacker wooden boat. See a future Regional News edition for more on this story. - June 26, 2005 — CBS News Sunday Morning's Bill Geist features the Walworth II mailboat and the jumpers. Geist was in Lake Geneva for several days leading up to the airing of the feature to film and interview for the piece. - February, 2005 — "Today Show" crew at annual Lake Geneva Winterfest for the snowsculpting championships.
August 19, 2009 | 10:04 AM
He's eaten giant flying ants in Uganda, cow vein stew in Bolivia and roasted Wallaby tail in Australia.

But all that may have been easy for Andrew Zimmern and his stomach of steel, compared to what he will try to do in Lake Geneva next weekend.

Zimmern, the host of the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" and his new series "Bizarre World," will be on the Lake Geneva Cruise Line's Walworth II attempting to deliver mail to lake residents as part of the daily nonstop mailboat route.

Zimmern is known for exploring the fringes of culture, especially when he shares meals with the locals. In his new show, "Bizarre World" he travels around the world in search of the most unexpected and unusual traditions. The show is scheduled to start in September. According to the Travel Channel's Web site, Zimmern will travel to Belize, Cuba, Kalahari, South Africa, Bali, Germany, Florida and Wisconsin.

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One of the stops is Lake Geneva for its unique mailboat. The new show will cover activities around the world where Zimmern gets involved in the experience.

On the historic mailboat tour, which is more than 90 years old, Zimmern is expected to join veteran mail jumper Elle Vogt and boat captain Neill Frame as passengers on board watch the action.

A film crew will be capturing the jumps from another boat.

Since 1870, the Walworth II is the only marine mail delivery of its type in the country. Every day from mid-June through mid-September, the Walworth II and its mailboat jumper delivers mail to about 60 homes around the lake. Along the way, the jumper talks about the historic estate homes along the shore once owned by people of fortune including the Maytags, Bordens and Wrigleys.

The uniqueness of the activity is that the boat never stops during its 2-1/2-hour trip around the lake. Zimmern will get a chance to jump from the bow of boat, onto the pier, place the mail into the box, grab any outgoing mail and jump back aboard as the boat continues on its way.

Joan Collins Publicity has been working with the Travel Channel to get Zimmern to come to Lake Geneva. It's part of the company's efforts to come up with stories that may be of interest to newspapers, magazines and television both regionally and nationally.

"The mail jumper angle for 'Bizarre World' is going to be part of a Wisconsin-themed hour show," Collins said. "The angle we pitched was, 'Wanna try to be a mail jumper? Remember the boat never stops.'"

Cruise Line office manager Ellen Burling said she's excited about Zimmern's arrival and wonders how he will do on the jumps.

"He seems to have a following," Burling said.

He will be in Lake Geneva on Aug. 29. Burling said reservations are being accepted for the cruise to ride along with Zimmern. The airing date for the segment has not yet been established.

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