A century later, Niagara Falls high-wire feat set for June 15

Wed May 2, 2012 5:24pm EDT
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By Neale Gulley

NIAGARA FALLS, New York (Reuters) - High-wire performer Nik Wallenda announced on Wednesday that June 15 is the day his boyhood dream to walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls will become a reality.

Wallenda, 33, a seventh-generation member of the famed "Flying Wallendas" family of circus performers, is set to walk a 2-inch cable strung 1,800 feet across Niagara Falls gorge — the first such tight rope feat between the United States and Canada in more than a century.

This has been his dream since he was 6 years old, Wallenda said during a news conference held near the falls in upstate New York.

"I can guarantee nothing like this has ever happened anywhere in the world," Wallenda said of his planned walk 150 feet above the falls that span two countries.

"I've done walks that are higher and longer but none of them compare to this," he said.

Wallenda, of Sarasota, Florida, said he will train publicly for 10 days prior to the walk, from May 12 to 22, in a parking lot used by the Seneca Niagara Casino, located less than a mile from the gorge.

Using a cable strung between two cranes at the site, Wallenda is set to practice using equipment to simulate the high-wind conditions and moisture he expects to encounter.

As for which country Wallenda will be in when he steps out onto the wire, he said weather will dictate that and a decision will be made closer to June 15. He said it's likely the walk, which is expected to take 30 to 40 minutes, will take place in the early evening, when colored lights are used to illuminate the huge waterfalls.   Continued...

Nik Wallenda speaks about his upcoming wire walk over the Canadian (Horseshoe) Falls, as he stands at the American Falls, Niagara Falls May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Doug Benz