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Sarasota Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 3 months ago

Nik Wallenda among five Circus Ring of Fame inductees

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January ceremony in St. Armands postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.
by: Eric Garwood Managing Editor

 A superstar with a sense of balance headlines the list of 2021 inductees to the Circus Ring of Fame.

Sarasota’s Nick Wallenda, who of late has thrilled millions with his televised high-wire walks, will join four other circus veterans on the St. Armands Circle landmark. The induction ceremony, normally a staple event of the new year, will be postponed because of COVID-19 concerns.

Tina Winn performs in June at Benderson Park.

“With this class of inductees, The Circus Ring of Fame Foundation embarks on a global quest to honor the best of the best. It is our goal to grow the stature of this award and make Sarasota a premiere destination for the worldwide circus community to gather on an annual basis,” said Bill Powell Foundation Chair.

The other inductees, culled this fall from a list of 14 nominees, are:

  • Tina Winn: Performing as Galaxy Girl, the seventh generation performer  began her circus training as a child with her family and has performed for decades. She is an extreme aerialist, often performing up to 130 feet off the ground.
  • George Carden: A Missouri-based circus producer who has raised millions of dollars for charitable causes through his circus and sponsoring organizations.
  • Willie Edelston: He signed with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a trapeze artist and performed extensively through the decades for numerous shows. He also volunteered for more than 50 years with Sarasota’s Sailor Circus.
  • The Richter Family:  One of Europe’s top circus families, best known for animal acts and acrobatic productions.

The Wallenda troupe was inducted in 1988, now among the 150 or so performers and executives part of the Circle of Fame.

Of late, Nik Wallenda traversed Niagara Falls on the tightrope and in 2019, along with Lijana Wallenda, crossed Times Square 25 stories about the street. Last March, Wallenda crossed a volcano in Nicaragua.

During the local COVID-19 lockdown, Wallenda orchestrated a series of drive in thrill shows at Benderson Park and elsewhere in Florida. Winn also performed in the shows. 

According to a release from the Circus Ring of Fame Foundation, voting was done by previous honorees, or their representatives, and the global Circus Advisory Council. 

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