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Appleton Mayor to Escape From Politics, The Mundane With Houdini Stunts

APPLETON – Following a seance conducted in Appleton’s History Museum at the Castle, Mayor Jake Woodford announced that he will be recreating famous Harry Houdini stunts throughout the summer in a unique effort to boost Appleton’s economy. According to a press release from the mayor’s office, the event series, dubbed “Wood-ini Wednesdays” will help free the mayor from the bottled-up feelings surrounding his mid-life crisis while simultaneously drawing in spectators from far and wide to witness his death-defying acts.

“Mile of Music is great,” Mayor Woodford says, “But it’s missing the thrill of witnessing a near-death experience, especially since we had to stop over-serving patrons alcohol after…the incident.” 

A Houdini enthusiast himself, Woodford says that he’s locked in on performing magic tricks this summer and that these daring feats are a perfect homage to the magician who called Appleton his hometown.

The first stunt on the mayor’s list will be a classic Houdini underwater escape, where the politician will be submerged in the Fox River while handcuffed and wrapped in chains and must free himself before drowning. Mayor Woodford assures the public he’s been practicing holding his breath during conference calls and is confident he’ll pull off the stunt with ease. 

Other spectacles to expect this summer include a classic straitjacket escape, where Woodford will attempt to wriggle out of a straitjacket while hanging upside down from the Oneida St. bridge; the Water Torture Cell Escape; and the infamous Milk Can Escape, where the politician will try his very best to escape from a milk can filled with water while handcuffed. 

While critics—including Woodford’s spouse—label these stunts as dangerous, unprofessional, and unnecessary, Mayor Woodford insists that these daring feats are worth the risks if it means more visitors will be attracted to his beloved city. He also revealed that he’s been secretly perfecting these stunts for months with the assistance of his staffers at the Houdini Museum downtown and in the pool of the La Quinta on College Ave.

Officials from Wisconsin’s tourism department remain skeptical about the outcome of this event series, with some pointing out that Houdini’s acts were popular over a century ago and may not appeal to modern audiences in the age of the internet and CGI. “I mean, it seems a bit derivative,” The department said in a written statement, “He could at least be a little more creative with the stunts. What can we do, though? Our hands are tied.”

Mayor Woodford remains optimistic and is eager to show the public his favorite stunt: making an elephant (on loan from the Milwaukee County Zoo) disappear into thin air. The mayor’s office did not comment on whether or not Woodford would perform any magic involving the elephant in the room that is the slowly dying Fox River Mall. 

So if you’re looking to escape the mundane with heart-stopping entertainment this summer, head on over to Appleton, where the mayor’s daunting escapes are sure to bring magic back to the city and inspire thousands. The demonstrations will be held in various locations across the city every Wednesday night from June through August.

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