February 4, 2013

Showing the quirkier attractions of Maine

The travel show 'Edge of America' will feature its host taking part in a pirate fest, lumberjack show and seaplane fly-in.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

"Edge of America" -- a new Travel Channel show focusing on quirky adventures and happenings around the country -- has already boosted tourism in Maine.

click image to enlarge

Geoff Edgers, host of the new Travel Channel show “Edge of America” dressed in his pirate best at the Eastport Pirate Festival in Eastport last September. The episode on Maine adventures begins airing at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Photos courtesy Travel Channel

click image to enlarge

'EDGE OF AMERICA'

WHEN: 11 p.m. Tuesday. First scheduled repeat of the episode is at 9:30 p.m. Feb. 12.

WHERE: Travel Channel, locally on Time Warner digital channel 49

INFO: Travelchannel.com

And the episode about Maine hasn't even aired yet.

The show's host, Boston Globe arts writer Geoff Edgers, was so taken with Eastport while filming a segment on the former sardine canning hub's annual pirate festival last September that he's decided to rent a place there this summer for a vacation with his family.

"It's kind of gritty and not at all spoiled, I really liked it there," said Edgers. "It seemed like a great area to explore."

Now if the episode Edgers filmed in Maine last year can get viewers to be as enthusiastic about the state as he is, there's no telling what might happen.

The half-hour episode -- which airs at 11 p.m. Tuesday and will be repeated frequently -- features Edgers firing a cannon at the pirate festival, climbing trees and cutting logs at Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show in Trenton as well as flying a plane over Moosehead Lake at the Seaplane Fly-In in Greenville.

Unlike some travel shows, "Edge of America" is focused squarely on the gregarious host and his willing participation in the wackier aspects of the events he's covering. In Eastport, for example, he fired a shipboard cannon and tried, unsuccessfully, to run across floating lobster crates. At the Timber Tina show, he hurled an ax at a target and with a partner used a handsaw to cut a log faster than someone with a chain saw.

So people who watch the show won't just see Maine's scenic wonders, they'll see somebody doing stuff and having fun.

"He was totally a natural when it came to throwing that ax," said "Timber Tina" Scheer, owner of the Great Maine Lumberjack Show, who appears on camera with Edgers.

Scheer says "Edge of America" could help bring people to her seasonal nightly show who might otherwise think Maine is all lighthouses and lobsters.

"Our show might be a hidden gem now, but I'd love it if we became unhidden," she said.

As Scheer spoke last week, she was in Los Angeles waiting to appear on a taping of the syndicated "Jeff Probst Show" with Edgers. So she's getting to promote Maine and her business twice on national TV, thanks to "Edge of America."

In Eastport, a remote seaport on the Canadian border trying hard to bring in tourists and new business, being a focus of "Edge of America" will mark the first time the seven-year-old Eastport Pirate Festival has received national attention, said Ross Furman, an organizer of the festival and an Eastport native.

In the episode, Furman is labeled on camera as Pirate Ross and is seen bantering with Edgers as he tries to dress like and act like a pirate.

"You'll never be a pirate," Furman tells Edgers at one point. Minutes later Edgers is seen loading and then firing a black powder cannon.

"I think being on the Travel Channel helps legitimize the festival," said Furman. "It was fun having them there. Geoff and I had a major sword fight, I hope that gets in."

Edgers, 42, is an arts and entertainment reporter for the Boston Globe. He got the chance to do "Edge of America" after he produced and starred in the 2010 documentary film "Do It Again," about his personal quest to reunite the rock band The Kinks.

"Edge of America" debuted in January with an episode that featured the Calf Fry Festival in Stillwater, Okla., where there's a tradition of eating certain parts of recently castrated calves.

So the show has a certain vibe, right off the bat.

"There's a ton of stuff going that's popular, but this show is looking for things that are weird, or unexpected, and linked strongly to where they are taking place," said Edgers. "And then whatever it is that's happening, I have to do it, whatever it is."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

rrouthier@pressherald.com

 

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