The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Mario Wallenda Will Fly Again

By Rachelle Bowden in Miscellaneous on Sep 19, 2006 11:06AM


2006_09_wallenda_newspaper.jpgYou've probably heard of The Flying Wallendas, but if you haven't, they're a family of famous circus performers who do daredevil, death-defying stunts high up in the air without a safety net. For decades they performed for the Barnum & Bailey Circus, and there are family members who still perform to this day.

One of the Wendellas, Mario, was paralyzed from the waist down on January 30, 1962, in Detroit when their Seven-Man Pyramid, a high-wire act, collapsed. Mario quit performing then, but in the early '90s he developed an act in which he would ride a two-wheeled electric "sky cycle" on the high wire.

2006_09_wallenda_skycycle.jpgToday, Mario is now 64 years old and he will be crossing the Chicago River on a tightrope 100 feet in the air. He'll use the "sky cycle" and will start in front of the Merchandise Mart and travel along a steel cable hoisted between cranes on each side of the river.

Said Mario, "I want to feel alive and productive. I just can't sit around the house and not do anything."

The stunt will happen at 9 a.m., be on the lookout!