Nik Wallenda, June 15, 2012
Credit Bill Scott
By Charles Schelle
January 29, 2013
Today's the day for Nik Wallenda's walk on a wire along Sarasota's bayfront.
Here are some key things to know before you go:
1. Arrive Early. Allow yourself some time to watch the preparation of the spectacle, make some friends and bring a beach chair if you can find some space. Much of the event area will be barricaded off. Road closures and detours are suppose to start as early as 10:30 a.m. eastbound to the bayfront from St. Armands, but congestion from the detours will begin at 9 a.m. Other roads will be closed at 10:45 a.m.
2. How long is the walk? Length-wise, it's 600 feet. As for time, it's a bit of perception and guess work.
The walk itself though is relatively short, but the tense moments watching Wallenda carefully step across the wire can make it seem like forever. His walks typically are in the 12-25 minute range. His previous walk in Sarasota in 2010, took about 12 minutes to walk 600 feet. An 800-foot walk in the King's Island amusement park in Ohio, took about 25 minutes, however.
It also depends on the conditions. Accuweather.com forecasts that it should be 77 degrees at 11 a.m., 63 percent humidity, winds coming out of the southeast at 10 mph with gusts up to 14 mph.
3. Where do I park? If you can make the walk or a bicycle ride, please do so.
If not, consider parking at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall where a free trolley service will be available.
The trolley will drop you off at the intersection of Cocoanut Avenue and Gulfstream Avenue. The trolley will run from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
3. Where should I see the walk? The walk will take place from Marina Tower on the corner of Gulfstream Avenue and Cocoanut Avenue across U.S. 41 to the Unconditional Surrender statue.
If you're worried that the Bayfront will be too crowded, consider finding a friend who has a condo along the Bayfront who has a good view of the building because options for viewing from high are limited to office buildings and condo high rises. There is plenty of grass area along both sides of the Bayfront, especially along Gulfstream Avenue.
4. What if I am stuck in the office? Visit Sarasota Patch at 11 a.m. for a livestream of Wallenda's Walk. Also, keep abreast of the scene with our Storify newsfeed. You can also watch the walk live on TV on WWSB ABC 7 and SNN Local News.
Plus, this walk is really to promote his Circus Sarasota show that's running now through Feb. 15 under the Big Top across from Ed Smith Stadium.
The show includes Wallenda's family performing trademark Wallenda acts, legendary aerialist Dolly Jacobs, a juggling married couple and a ventriloquist.
For more information, visit circussarasota.org.
5. I love Nik, but I have other plans. Can I still get to the beach? Yes, but depending where you're driving from, you might want to consider to take the Cortez Road bridge to Bradenton Beach and drive down to Lido Beach, Longboat Key and St. Armands if you're concerned about congestion. Plus, it's a beautiful drive.
You will still be able to get to the beach via U.S. 41 to the John Ringling Causeway, but traffic will be pretty bad on southbound U.S. 41.