Wallenda Walks Again


By dpape on Flickr (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Kaitlyn Corwin, Staff Writer

In the heart of Orlando, people funnel through Walt Disney’s Fantasyland, fast food restaurants and endless tourist traps. Orlando is full of outdoor shopping malls swarming with people walking everywhere. It is difficult to go anywhere without hearing the clamor of people and the roar of roller coasters.

But on April 29, American acrobat Nik Wallenda will walk alone 400 feet above the city atop the new Orlando Eye.

Wallenda is part of a family known as the “Flying Wallendas.” Their legacy as the acrobatic, tight-roping family began in 1928, when a group of German acrobats travelled to New York to perform in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. Among these acrobats was Karl Wallenda, who raised 2 girls with wife Helen Kreis, and later wife Martha Henderson, in the circus. As the children grew older and the family increased in size, they began to perform together, accomplishing such phenomenal feats as the seven person chair pyramid.

In March of 1978, Karl Wallenda died when he fell off of the rope crossing between two hotels in Puerto Rico. The family was devastated, but it only pushed them to improve on their trade.

Nik Wallenda, Karl’s great-grandson, is living the legacy to this day. In 2012, he made history by crossing Niagara Falls on tightrope. Coverage of the event was featured worldwide and people everywhere were in awe of his audacity. A year later, he crossed the Grand Canyon.

Now, his aspirations have taken him to Orlando. He has announced that he will climb to the top of the recently completed Orlando Eye and then walk as an operator below turns on the wheel.

Check back on April 29 for video coverage of the event or watch the walk in person.