Wallenda will cross the courtyard on a cable no bigger than an index finger without a harness or safety net. The event, which benefits Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County,is FREE and open to the public.
Prior to the skywalk, enjoy a variety of circus-themed performances beginning at 4 p.m. Many Sundial retailers will participate by donating proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Additionally, Wallenda will be available for photos in the courtyard with the public.
At 61, it won’t be his longest or highest feat, but as a third-generation aerialist, it’s a tribute to his family’s profession and grandfather, Karl Wallenda who calmly crossed Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge and Kings Island, both death-defying acts. An Eckerd College graduate, Rick and his family have deep roots in Florida.
On their website, Rick writes about his experience, and even wrote a book, Skyfall. (Excerpted from http://wallendaenterprises.com/index.html):
“My sister, Rietta, and I toured as The Great Wallendas until she married. I also married, and my wife Debbie and I continued as The Great Wallendas. We performed our highwire troupe, and a new duo act featuring Debbie as the first and only woman in history to perform an incredible jump from my shoulders to the wire. That record still holds. No other woman has attempted that trick. Debbie and I continued with the duo, and the troupe, but added The Great Wallendas Circus.
“The circus consumed time, and minimized highwire practice. On some occasions The Great Wallendas highwire act remained in the truck sometimes replaced by other Wallenda highwire acts. The main focus of The Great Wallendas Inc became show productions, and eventually attracted the mighty Medinah Shrine Temple as our opening engagement in Chicago for a seventeen day appearance 1995-97.
“During this time I turned my attention to concept shows. As a response to spectators requesting something historical, we fashioned Zirkus Wallenda. Zirkus is a turn of the century show with a story line, and a real snake-oil salesman, Dr. Sauce, selling Wallendas Wonder Tonic. The show successfully toured for several years, and remains on our menu of offerings.
“After the 1998 season I entered Eckerd College, graduating in just three years with a 3.95 GPA, and a B.A. in Creative Writing, and followed that with two years at Vermont College, earning the MFA in Writing.
I now combine my literary degrees with my performing experience, creating and performing concept shows, thrills, and exceeding the limits of tradition. Wallenda Enterprises offers more room for creativity, and expansion into other areas of expression.”
Story by Nanette Wiser
* The Sundial is located at 153 Second Avenue N in Downtown St Petersburg