As the sun set on the midway Sunday, daredevil and high-wire artist Nik Wallenda eased his way along a 1,400-foot wire, 125 feet in the air, over the 175th Erie County Fair. Record-breaking crowds watched in anticipation as Wallenda navigated the wire, which was the size of a nickel in diameter, slowly and cautiously to the finish.
Wallenda began his walk with the beautiful lights of the Strates Shows midway illuminating in the background. As he passed over crowds and food vendors, there was silence as everyone watched each step as carefully as Wallenda himself.
Mid-walk, in typical Wallenda fashion, there was a pause where Wallenda welcomed the crowd and released himself from the tether he was wearing. The crowd erupted in wild applause as the tether was released and Wallenda completed the walk solo with just a small safety net standing between him and the racetrack.
Upon completion of the 1,400-foot walk - a walk that was farther than Niagara Falls - a flurry of fireworks welcomed Wallenda safely to the other side. The crowds cheered wildly, while few stood in awe at the feat of balance, concentration and bravery that was completed before their eyes.
This was the capstone moment of what is becoming the largest fair in Erie County Fair history.
More than a year ago, organizers sat down with Wallenda to discuss a major stunt at the fairgrounds. His history with the Erie County Fair goes back to when he was just 13 years old and performed in a circus-style show with his family on, what else, a high wire.