HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) – In 30 minutes, Nik Wallenda walked across 1,400 feet of tight rope at the Erie County Fair. That’s 100 feet longer than his walk across Niagara Falls in 2012.
While Wallenda didn’t have to deal with the water and other hazards the Falls provided him, there were other challenges at the Erie County Fair. Assistants were holding the ropes throughout his walk making it more flexible than if it were anchored down.
There were also people below him this time, instead of the Niagara River. He could hear their screams and cheers, but also some not-so-nice comments. He said he heard one man yell “Fall!” to which Wallenda yelled back in an effort to embarrass him.
Hundreds watched as the sun set throughout his walk which provided some spectacular views for fair-goers. He told News 4 that Sunday wasn’t the first time he’s performed at the Erie County Fair. He performed there with his family when he was 14, he explained.
Wallenda had a tether attached for the first half of the walk and then there was a net underneath him for the remainder of his time in the air. He would have preferred to not have any safety backup, but was required to according to New York State law.
“I approach every event I do the same. I’ve lost seven family members doing what I do so you can’t take anything for granted. My great grandfather probably one of the smallest walks he ever did in his career he lost his life on, so I take them all extremely seriously every step of the way. The preparation was the same, the focus was the same, the nerves were the same leading up to it,” said Wallenda.
Wallenda’s next high-wire walk will be in Chicago. Sunday night’s event at the fair was the longest distance he’s walked on a wire so far this year.