Five years after her husband walked a tightrope over Niagara Falls, his wife is planning her own teeth-clenching stunt there.
To be precise, Erendira Wallenda, a trapeze aerialist, plans to hang by her teeth from a tether connected to a helicopter flying over the Falls, Niagara County officials announced Tuesday night.
By a 14-0 vote Tuesday, the County Legislature earmarked $35,000 to help pay any costs connected with the spectacle, which local officials hope will draw thousands of tourists like Nik Wallenda's nationally televised 1,800-feet tightrope walk did on June 15, 2012.
Niagara County Majority Leader Randy R. Bradt, R-North Tonawanda, who helped author the resolution that was introduced on the floor of the Legislature, noted that Nik Wallenda's 2012 walk not only captured the imagination of a billion people around the world, but offered a big boost to the local economy.
It "generated an economic impact estimated at $21 million, with $3 million in direct revenues to the City of Niagara Falls. Plus, our tourism industry received a massive shot in the arm, with hotel bookings elevated for weeks after. We want to recapture that energy for our local economy," Bradt said in a news release Tuesday.
Erendira Wallenda was present when her husband made his historic walk between the Falls, over the raging Niagara rapids, but she appears to enjoy the limelight as much as her husband. They performed together at Darien Lake in 2014.
Erendira Wallenda has performed the attention-getting, aerialist feat suspended from a helicopter before. According to the Courier-Postin Cherry Hill, N.J., it was nearly a year ago when she grabbed a metal ring suspended beneath a helicopter and took a gull's-eye tour of Absecon Island, performing aerial stunts as the chopper slowly made the 14-mile round trip between Atlantic City's Steel Pier and Longport, at the opposite end of Absecon Island.
In 2015, she performed suspended from a large ring dangling from a helicopter, 150 feet above the ground at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, according to the Daily Telegraph, which noted the Erendira performed the breathtaking routine while hanging on by her toes, and without a safety harness.
After Nik Wallenda wirewalked across Charlotte's NASCAR course in 2013, and returned a year later to cross paths with his sister on a cable some 150 feet high, Erendira Wallenda told the Sarasota Herald Tribune: "Hey, it's my turn."
Nik Wallenda told the newspaper in 2015 that the helicopter stunt was something his wife had been waiting her entire life to do.
"It's exciting for me; usually she's the one biting her nails on the sidelines, and here I'll be on the other side biting my nails as she performs," he said. "It's been all about Nik Wallenda, but it's time for me to quit being so selfish. I think this is the kickoff for something new."
Back in 2014, a 4.5-foot-high limestone and bronze monument, with a piece of the wire used in Wallenda’s feat affixed to the top, was unveiled on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park. The marker sits overlooking Terrapin Point and the Horseshoe Falls, about 25 yards from where the wire he walked across was strung five years ago.
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