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Wallenda wire-walk watchers get it free Only 4,000 tickets available on U.S. side and can only be obtained online

Nik Wallenda's wire-walk across Niagara Falls will be free to the public in both the U.S. and Canada.

But only 4,000 free tickets will be available on the U.S. side, and you will have to be ready at your computer at 9 a.m. Friday in order to snare one.

State officials Tuesday said the event, which will take place shortly after 10 p.m. June 15, will be free to the public from a limited viewing area in Niagara Falls State Park.

"We are very excited to be hosting this historic event and are focused on providing a safe and enjoyable experience for the patrons that come to witness Nik's walk," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a statement. "We are pleased that Gov. [Andrew M.] Cuomo has allowed us to offer spectators a chance to witness history at no charge."

Tuesday's announcement also made it clear there will be limited viewing in the state park and much more space on the Canadian side. Because the stunt will take place over the Horseshoe Falls, the only suitable viewing areas from the American side are Terrapin Point on Goat Island and, to a lesser extent, Prospect Point.

While only 4,000 free tickets will be available for viewing in those areas, state officials said, big-screen televisions will be displayed on Old Falls Street in the city to accommodate overflow crowds.

Canadian officials have said they are expecting between 60,000 and 100,000 on their park land, which stretches along the upper rim of the Niagara Gorge and provides a panoramic view of all three waterfalls.

Free vouchers for public access on the American side will be available starting at 9 a.m. Friday. The vouchers will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the website and can be redeemed for a wristband June 15. Spectators will be limited to a maximum of five free vouchers per email address.

Beginning at 9 a.m. June 15, wristbands can be picked up at the Niagara Falls State Park Visitor Center and the Cave of the Winds information kiosk in the park.

In addition, starting at 11 a.m., vouchers can be redeemed for wristbands at the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. visitor information tent, located temporarily on Old Falls Street between Rainbow Boulevard and Prospect Street in the city.

Wristbands are not required for access to other areas of the park, which will remain open on the day of the wire-walk. Access to the main park areas are free, while parking is $10.

State officials expect parking to be limited in the park June 15, and spectators are encouraged to arrive early. Niagara Falls Coach Lines will be shuttling people from a parking lot to the downtown corridor from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. for $5 per person.

A "sideshow" of daredevil-related family and children's activities will begin at 11 a.m. along Old Falls Street.

While Canadian officials previously said they would make the event free on their land, State Parks officials said the decision would be made by Cuomo's office.

Two of the stunt's chief supporters, State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, said in recent days that they were working to make the event free.

Maziarz said he had "furiously" lobbied Cuomo's office, while Ceretto penned a letter to Cuomo stating the event should be free to the public.

City officials also are looking for volunteers, age 18 or older, to help distribute tourism information on the day of the walk. For more information, contact Jane Schroeder at or 282-8992, Ext. 312.