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Man attempts to walk across Grand Canyon on a high wire

Monday, 3 June 2013 9:04 AM

Famed high wire artist Nik Wallenda, who made it safely across a 1,500ft wire over Niagara Falls last year, is now planning on crossing the Grand Canyon.

On June 23 the daredevil, known as ‘King of the High Wire’, plans to walk 1,500ft across a section of the Canyon suspended 1,500ft above the Colorado River, without a safety harness.

The walk will take place at 8pm Eastern Standard Time, and will air live exclusively on the Discovery Channel’s worldwide network in 217 countries.

Wallenda, originally from Sarasota country in Florida is a seventh generation circus performer and began walking the high wire at the age of two. He plans to train for his walk across the Grand Canyon at Nathan Benderson Park in his home town.

Nik Wallenda on the high wire

Visitors can watch Wallenda training in the park at select times from June 6 – 19 where he will be walking on a cable suspended approximately 25ft in the air and stretching 1,200ft across the western edge of Regatta Island. His training will essentially almost recreate the distance of his walk across the Grand Canyon, but will be optimal for local viewers.

The Wallenda family is a storied part of Sarasota County’s celebrated circus heritage which dates back to the early 1900’s when the Ringling brothers, John and Charles, came to the area. John Ringling, circus impresario of The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, built a winter home along Sarasota Bay and subsequently moved the circus winter quarters to Sarasota County in 1927.

Today, The Ringling Museum pays homage to the American circus with the Circus Museum housing the world’s largest miniature circus, as well as hands-on exhibits and memorabilia from circus performances.

Many circuses still call Sarasota County home today including Circus Sarasota and Sailor Circus, a youth program with performances several times a year. The Ring of Fame on St. Armands circle pays tribute to circus greats with an induction ceremony every year.

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