Skywalk by Nik Walenda Today in Sarasota

By | January 29, 2013

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Nik WallendaNik Wallenda, the internationally acclaimed high wire artist and Sarasota native, captured the imagination of  the world when he conquered Niagara Falls by walking on a wire above the treacherous cascade this past  summer. Now Wallenda promises to thrill his hometown neighbors and fans in-person with a performance on a silvery strand suspended 200 feet above downtown Sarasota.  Scheduled for today Tuesday, January 29th at 10:30 a.m., the “Sarasota Skywalk” will begin in Bayfront Park (near the iconic “Unconditional Surrender” statue), traverse U.S. Route 41, and conclude at Marina Tower Condominium.  It is expected that thousands of people will gather in Bayfront Park to watch and applaud Wallenda as he defies gravity once again. Nik will perform without the aid of a tether or net.  “My skill is my safety device,” says Wallenda.

Of course, defying gravity is just a walk-in-the-park for Nik Wallenda who represents the seventh generation of a family known for conquering the skies.  His great-grandfather was the legendary Karl Wallenda whose name was synonymous with the high wire, and who was, himself, a resident of Sarasota.  Each time that Nik steps out on the wire, it is in homage to his great-grandfather.
“Besides paying tribute to my great-grandfather, this is a way to salute the circus community that has called Sarasota ‘home’ for over a century,” explains Wallenda.  “Without the influence of the Ringling family, and the generations of circus families who have resided here, I am not certain that our beautiful city would have become such a showcase for the arts. John and Charles Ringling paved the way, and today dozens of respected arts organizations continue to flourish, adding texture and depth to the cultural life of Sarasota.”
One such organization is Circus Sarasota, created fifteen years ago to provide a venue for some of the world’s greatest circus artists, and train the performers of tomorrow. At the same time, Circus Sarasota also offers educational and human service programs for the area’s youth, for senior citizens, and for people in care facilities.  Part of Circus Sarasota’s community outreach includes working year-round to preserve the circus arts in Sarasota. Circus Sarasota proudly presents Nik Wallenda’s Sarasota Skywalk as a contribution to the world famous circus legacy in our community. Pedro Reis, co-founder and CEO of Circus Sarasota, comments “Nik and I have been friends and colleagues for many, many years. After his astounding walk across Niagara, I asked him if he one would perform once more in Circus Sarasota. Not only did he say ‘Yes!’ but he asked, ‘What else can I do?  After all, Sarasota is my home, and I want people around-the-world to know what a beautiful place it is!’  So, with the help of many people and organizations, including Visit Sarasota (our tourist bureau), and with the approval and support from an enthusiastic City Commission we are able to present Nik high above the streets of downtown.”  With a smile, Reis adds, “Of course, we hope that thousands of locals and visitors, alike, will also come to see Nik perform under the Circus Sarasota Big Top, where he will be appearing along with a cast of world-class circus entertainers and athletes through Friday, February 15th.”
Virginia Haley, president of the local tourist bureau, Visit Sarasota County, suggests that there will be more than 50 million media impressions around-the-world seeing Nik Wallenda’s “Sarasota Skywalk” through various media.  “But only those here in Sarasota can see him live and in-person!”
Thanks to the extreme height of the wire, unobstructed views should be available throughout Sarasota’s Bayfront Park and Island Park.  Gulfstream Ave. between Main St. & Cocoanut Ave. will also be closed for a Spectator Area during the Walk. “Arrive early to secure a good place to park,” advises Nik Wallenda, with a grin. “I don’t want you to miss it!”
Courtesy of SRQ Daily

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