BRANSON, Mo. The famous Wallenda family is performing their “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus” as part of Silver Dollar City’s KidsFest. After their July 8 performance Nik Wallenda and his mother Delilah, the family’s beautiful and talented matriarch, were kind enough to share a bit about the Wallenda’s and their passion for the High Wire.
Nik Wallenda, a seventh generation Wallenda, has been walking the wire since his mother, Delilah, helped him get started at age two. He has been walking by himself on the wire since four and has been performing on the High Wire since age 13. He says that performing on the High Wire is simply a way of life and a passion that has been in his family for generations. His great grandfather, the famous Karl Wallenda said, “Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting.”
Well no one can accuse Nik or the Wallendas of just waiting. The day prior to the opening of their current show at Silver Dollar City’s KidsFest, the “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus,” Nik set yet another “Guinness World Record” while hanging from a trapeze suspended from a helicopter 265 feet above Silver Dollar City. After performing some tricks on the trapeze he hung suspended by only his jaw for 30 seconds setting the Guinness World Record for the highest “Iron Jaw Hang.” Wallenda holds world records for the “Longest Distance Traveled on a High Wire on a Bicycle,” at 235 feet; “Highest Bicycle Ride on a High Wire,” at 267 feet; “Highest Wheel of Death,” at 270 feet and as a participant in the “World Record Eight Person Pyramid on A High Wire.”
A week prior to opening in Silver Dollar City, Nik, the great-grandson of Karl Wallenda, and his mother Delilah, Karl’s grandaughter, walked the same “wire” that Karl had attempted to walk over 33 years earlier and from which he fell to his death. At over 100 feet in the air, with no net, they passed each other in the middle of the 300 foot wire, Delilah sat down on the wire and Nik stepped over her. Delilah then got up and, along with Nik, walked along the wire to opposite towers. The walk was to honor Karl.
He initially didn’t want his mother to make the “walk” with him because he was concerned that his focus, which is so critical when walking the wire, would be split between concern for his mother and the walk. He said that knowing her passion to do the walk and that it was a once in lifetime opportunity to duplicate her grandfather’s last walk without a net made it impossible to say “No.” Delilah said, “I told him I had the ability, that I had been practicing and that it was very important to me. It took a little bit because he and my husband were very concerned, but they knew I’m a little bit hard headed when it comes to performing.”
Delilah, had been semi-retired for around six years until about two years ago when Nik surprised her with an opportunity to “walk” with him. She had showed up to watch him perform and he said, “Come on mom, do this walk with me.” She told him that she had no pole, shoes or costume, but he had them for her. She said, “It was wonderful and pulled me out of my semi-retirement leading to the Puerto Rico walk and performing every day at Silver Dollar City in the “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus” show. She said, “It feels absolutely fabulous to be able to perform every day with my family.”
Nik is preparing to walk the High Wire across Niagara Falls from the U.S. side to Canada and hopes to get the required permissions and make the walk by the end of September. Both countries have laws prohibiting stunts above the falls The New York Legislature has already passed legislation permitting the walk and Nik will be going to Canada to try and get their permission as soon as the Silver Dollar City show closes.
When asked the simple question, “Are you nuts?” he replied, “This is a life style for me. My family has been doing it for more than 200 years and I have been walking the wire since I was two years old. Of course there is risk to it, but there’s a risk to just crossing the street. Wire walking is an art, it cannot be perfected, but you can get pretty darn close.”
Delilah said that as a mother she is concerned about her son making the walk, but as a Wallenda walking the wire is their passion, way of life and something that they train and focus on everyday. She encourages their fans and others to keep an eye on Nik as he prepares to walk across Niagara Falls. She said, “He’s very much like my grandfather, he’s got that drive and passion. When he wants to do something he’s going to do it and I’m so proud of him.” One can almost picture Karl looking down from above and smiling as he says, “”Life is being on the wire; everything else is just waiting. Godspeed Nik.”
The Wallenda family is performing their “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus” during KidsFest at Silver Dollar City though July 23 at 11:15, 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. For special “two day for one day pricing: on Silver Dollar City tickets or information on the “Fabulous Wallendas! Famous Family Circus” show please contact the Branson Tourism Center by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.