Nik and Lijana Wallenda Trained in Sarasota for ABC’s Highwire Live in Times Square

“I think fear is a liar,” Nik Wallenda, King of the High-Wire told the hundreds who gathered at Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park.

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk.
Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk.

What he was referring to was the Feb. 8, 2017, when he was part of an eight-person pyramid on a high-wire for Circus Sarasota. Five of the performers, including his sister Lijana Wallenda, plunged about 30 feet to the ground. Nik grabbed the wire so he did not fall to the ground. Unfortunately, Lijana was one of the five who fell. Thankfully, no one was killed.

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk
Lijana Wallenda Walks the High-Wire in Sarasota in Preparation for the June 23, 2019, Walk Over Time’s Square. June 8, 2019

Weeks following the fall, Lijana, speaking through a wired jaw, told the Today show on NBC she broke every bone in her face. She was repaired with three plates and 72 screws.

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk
Nik Wallenda Pauses During a Practice Walks Across the High-Wire in Sarasota in Preparation for the June 23, 2019, Walk Over Times Square. He Appears to be Taking a Photo of His Sister, Lijana Wallenda. June 8, 2019

Facing Fear Head On

It was a June evening and Nik and Lijana were practicing for their June 23 high-wire walk over New York City’s Times Square. Called Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda, they will walk 1,250 feet, starting at opposite ends, 25 stories high, on a wire 3/4” in diameter.

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 13, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk
Nik Wallenda Walks Across the High-Wire in Sarasota in Preparation for the June 23, 2019, Walk Over Time’s Square. June 8, 2019

When they meet on the wire, Lijana will sit down, they will exchange clips for their tethers (mandatory requirement, although the Wallendas pride themselves for performing without a net or tethers), Nik will step over her, and both will continue walking forward to the opposite end.

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 13, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk
Lijana Wallenda Strikes a Pose Prior to Practicing for the NYC Times Square High-Wire Walk with Her Brother Nik Wallenda. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 13, 2019.

A Living, Walking Miracle

During the Sarasota practice, Nik said the fall shook him and fear attempted to paralyze him and his sister from moving forward in life. Fear made them question their high-wire capabilities. Fear has also inspired him to write a second book focused on overcoming it. Preparing for the Time’s Square walk as has helped the duo face those fears and push them aside.

“She is truly a living and walking miracle,” Nik said of Lijana, “You showing up is part of her healing process.”

“If we don’t remove those negative thoughts from our mind, they will defeat us,” he said, and added, “with a positive mind, anything is possible in life.”

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk
Lijana Wallenda Waves to Fans After a Successful Attempt Across the High-Wire in Sarasota in Preparation for the June 23, 2019, Walk Over Time’s Square. June 8, 2019

Fun Stuff

Lijana Wallenda is a costume designer and when I asked if she will design her attire for the Times Square walk, he told me should will have something to do with the design. When I asked what he will be wearing, he said probably a T-shirt and jeans and will head to the mall to pick those items out. He trained in the foot attire he will be wearing in New York. His mother made them.

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Practiced at Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019, for Their NYC Times Square High Wire Walk
Nik Wallenda Walks Over His Sister, Lijana Wallenda During a Practice for their June 23, 2019, Walk Over Time’s Squared. Sarasota, Fla., June 8, 2019.

How to Watch the Wallendas

“Highwire Live in Times Square with Nik Wallenda” will air on ABC as a live, two-hour televised event on Sunday, June 23, 2019 at 8 p.m. ET with a delay.

Video of Nik & Lijana Wallenda Practicing in Sarasota for the NYC Times Square Walk

More Images of Nik & Lijana Wallenda Training in Sarasota, June 2019

Nik Wallenda and Lijana Wallenda Training in Sarasota, Fla. for Times Square Walk
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Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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