We’re happy to see that Nik Wallenda is returning to this area, even if it’s not back to Niagara Falls, where the wire walker gained fame.
Wallenda has kept a special place in his heart for Niagara Falls since his walk across the Horseshoe Falls in June 2012. Live television allowed 13 million people to watch the feat that tied the Wallenda name to Niagara Falls.
But his desire to return to the American side of the Falls in a deal that would bring his skills permanently to the Cataract City has failed to get off the ground. Blame it on politics. Blame it on inertia. Whatever the reason and finger-pointing, Darien Lake theme park has emerged the winner.
Now “Nik Wallenda: Beyond the Falls” will include one-hour performances at the park every day except Mondays throughout the summer. That means people around here will still be able to enjoy watching the talents of Wallenda and his family. They just won’t do it against the backdrop of one of the wonders of the world.
Wallenda put it politely about the chances of a Falls attraction when he said, “It takes time to get things done in Niagara Falls.”
State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, has long been a Wallenda fan and played a critical role in clearing the road for the walk across the falls a couple of years ago. He’s wanted to bring a Wallenda-related attraction here ever since, but has more than hinted at resistance from important city officials, including Mayor Paul A. Dyster.
The mayor insists accusations that the city hasn’t been supportive are untrue. In fact, he says, the city has offered to help the two entities that were in talks with Wallenda about setting up a Falls attraction. Dyster believes the daredevil is being misled by Maziarz and other people who have been “transmitting their negativity about Niagara Falls.”
Political bickering aside, Wallenda represents a piece of Niagara Falls history. When those 8 million tourists the falls draws from around the world every year show up, they’re going to see displays featuring the daredevils who have tried, in their own way, to conquer the falls. But when they look for the real McCoy, they’re going to have to head down the road to the Genesee County amusement park.
The inability of Niagara Falls stakeholders to strike a permanent deal with Wallenda is a head-scratcher. We’ll think about it some more as we watch Wallenda perform – at Darien Lake.