As far back as 1780, in the cafes of Old Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the ancestral Wallenda family was a traveling circus troupe consisting of acrobats, jugglers, clowns, aerialists and animal trainers–all in one family. Tino Wallenda, grandson of the famed Karl Wallenda, represents the sixth generation of the famous Wallenda family.
As his protege, Tino once engineered many of the riggings for his grandfather’s famous sky walks. Now he engineers his own as he and his family log thousands of miles, eight to ten months out of the year, performing with various circuses, festivals, celebrations, fairs and special events. Tino started on the wire at the age of 7 when his grandfather Karl took him into the circus backyard, put the balance-pole in his hands, taught him how to place his feet and how to control his body and where to focus his eyes. At the age of 12, he made his first crossing on the wire 35 feet off the ground. At 17, Tino became a full-fledged member of the Great Wallenda troupe. For several years, he toured with and under the tutelage of his grandfather. With his wife, Olinka, also a sixth generation performer whose family roots were that of aerial performances and high wire, Tino set off to establish his own unique tightrope presentation. Before Karl’s death, Tino returned to work under his grandfather’s leadership in recreating the 7-Person Pyramid.
Some of the feats Tino has accomplished in his career on the wire are walking over lions, tigers and man-eating sharks; walking between buildings, over rivers and over a waterfall. His highest walk was 179 feet in the air over Denver and 3,300 feet in length.
The fundraiser will be held Friday, April 11, at 6 p.m. in the First Baptist Church activity center. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under, and can be bought at the church office.