The famous Flying Wallendas, who made Sarasota their home in 1937, were honored with a Sarasota County historical marker outside their former house.
County Commissioners Joe Barbetta, Nora Patterson and Carolyn Mason, Mayor Dick Clapp and Vice Mayor Kelly Kirschner helped unveil that marker Jan. 8, at the 1623 Arlington St. home.
Although they no longer own the home, a number of Wallenda family members attended the event.
“We wanted to preserve the house, because it’s part of Sarasota’s history,” said Carla Wallenda, who still performs at the age of 73.
The Wallendas began their high-wire circus act in Germany. During a performance in 1928 in Cuba, John Ringling saw their act and hired them for his Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Karl and Helen Wallenda, the family’s patriarch and matriarch, used their home as a hangout for many circus performers, and neighbors would visit to watch them practice.
“I’m very proud that the Wallenda family is getting this tribute,” said Betty Intagliata, chairwoman of the Sarasota County Historical Commission. “It’s long overdue.”
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