Blake Wallenda performing solo for the highwire act at the Sarasota International Dragon Boat Festival


SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – Setting up the highwire for the event took a week. A 300-foot cable was installed from an anchor point near the beach to the fourth level of the Nathan Benderson Park Tower. The wire has six stabilizers installed every 50 feet to prevent the wire from swinging.

Wallenda owns all of the equipment used and began the installation process by bringing it all to the park. The main anchor point required digging a deep hole with several stakes driven into the ground for stabilizers.

“It’s good to work as a family and it’s good to work alone, but it’s good to have someone else help you,” Wallenda said. “This walk and this setup, I was the only one to set up and it took me a long time to do it.”

Installation is still ongoing as heavy rains raised water levels in the park by nearly four inches, according to Wallenda. The stabilizing stakes are currently submerged and will need to be replanted and positioned.

The walk will begin at the beach at the main anchor point 60 feet above the ground and end at the park tower, nearly 100 feet above the ground.

“I’ll be more excited once I cross that line and get to the tower waving to everyone,” Wallenda said.

Wallenda still plans to perform with his family and alone in the future.

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