Wallenda Now In Brevard Preparing For Arial Routine

By  //  November 6, 2012

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SPACE COAST STATE FAIR SPOTLIGHT

ABOVE VIDEO: Seventy-six year old Carla Wallenda talks with Giles Malone about the Space Coast State Fair, her incredible death-defying arial routine,  and the 120-foot sway pole that has been in her family for three generations.

BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – Carla Wallenda, a member of the famous “Flying Wallendas” family, is now in town and in preparation for her incredible death-defying arial routine during the upcoming Space Coast State Fair set for Nov. 8 to Nov. 18 at Space Coast Stadium.

Carla Wallenda, a member of the famous “Flying Wallendas” family, will perform her incredible death-defying arial routine during the upcoming Space Coast State Fair set for Nov. 8-18 at Space Coast Stadium. (Image Courtesy Wallenda Family)

Daredevil Nik Wallenda, who last June made world-wide news as the first person to walk across Niagara Falls on a high wire, is Carla’s grand nephew.

Carla, now 76 years old, is the daughter of Karl Wallenda who began performing at the age of 6 in his native Germany in 1911. Karl made his U.S. debut in 1928 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. During his career, Karl developed some of the most amazing acts ever seen such as the seven-person chair pyramid. Unfortunately, in March1978, during a promotional walk in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Karl fell from the wire and was killed. He was 73.

‘Practically Born On the Wire’

Working on a 110-foot high “sway” pole, Carla has spent the majority of her life high above the ground, balancing her diminutive 5′-2″, 105-pound frame on top of the spring-steel pole that swings and sways like a tree branch in the wind.

“I was practically born on the wire,” said Carla, the grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of four.

Tragedy has played a large part of her life. In addition to her father, Carla has a deceased uncle and a paralyzed brother – all victims while performing. Her Aunt Rietta, who also performed on the sway pole long before Carla, was also killed while performing.

Tragedy has played a large part of her life. In addition to her father, Carla has a deceased uncle and a paralyzed brother – all victims while performing. Her Aunt Rietta, who also performed on the sway pole long before Carla, was also killed while performing.

“When I first met Carla 16 years ago her act blew me away,” said Lon Horwedel in his blog on mlive.com.

Crowd Left Gasping

“She was in her mid-50s then, but as strong and supple as a 20-year-old. To see her diminutive frame in a tattered, gold-sequined body suit, it’s hard to believe this woman is going to do what she’s about to do. But when she shakes your hand, you realize she’s different. Her large hands have a strength that seems superhuman. And even though they’re toneless, her arms are long – really long. Perfect for climbing.

The Wallenda family in Mexico City, 1969, from left, Tino Wallenda, Richard “Chico” Guzman, Carla Wallenda, Rick Wallenda and Karl Wallenda. (Image Courtesy Wallenda Family)

“When she takes to the pole, it’s easy to see she’s in her element. She scales the first 65 feet with ease before taking a break while her husband, Mike Morgan, performs a high-wire act for the crowd. When Morgan finishes his act, Carla scales the final 45 feet to the top of the pole. For the next 10 minutes, Carla rocks back and forth on the pole until it’s bending 25 feet in both directions. Then she hangs upside down from a strap on her foot or hold onto the pole with only one hand as it bends downward. The crowd is left gasping or covering their eyes. My daughter asks me what happens if she falls. “Not good,” is all I can say.

Carla Wallenda

“To polish off her act, she climbs atop a small triangle on top of the pole and stands freely, no longer holding onto the pole with her hands. But wait, she’s not done, now she starts to rock the pole back and forth while balancing on top. The crowd can barely stand to watch. Even little kids are freaking out. To everyone’s relief, she finally climbs down off the pole having cheated death once more. Then, like most great-grandmothers, she reaches for her bifocals. After that, Carla mingles with the crowd, signs autographs and answers questions,” said Horwedel in his blog on mlive.com.

When Horwedel asked Carla, “What’s it like up there?,” Carla gazed up at the sky and said, “I love it. Any pain or unhappiness I might be feeling all goes away when I’m on that pole – it’s euphoria.”

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SPACE COAST STATE FAIR


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