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SUPERSTARS Grand Marshal Nik Wallenda waves to the crowds lining the streets of downtown Sarasota. SARASOTA SKYWALKER NIK WALLENDA HEADS UP THE PARADE OF OFFSHORE RACING BOATS Staff Reports The superstar from the air joined forces with superstars from the waves on July 5 in downtown Sarasota, bringing out hundreds of cheering fans in spite of intermittent downpours. After Nik Wallenda, the Circus Sarasota hometown star, successfully negotiated a walk above the Grand Canyon on June 23, he was invited to be a grand marshal for Suncoast Charities' Festival Parade of Boats. One of numerous events over a nine-day period, the parade was part of the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival, which culminated in the 30th running of boat races on July 7 off Lido Beach. Then it was the boats' and racing teams' turn down Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue. Festival proceeds support the work of Suncoast Charities for Children. This spring, the Sarasota County Commission provided a $79,200 grant and $3,500 in in-kind services to make the festival possible after the organizers voiced concerns about having to cancel the events because of a lag in private contributions. The Sarasota City Commission approved $36,582 in in-kind services for the festival, a $5,175 increase over its 2012 contribution. Additionally, the Sarasota County Sports Commission gave Suncoast Charities $15,000 as a sports marketing grant. Wallenda led the parade, followed by a representation of his fellow Circus Sarasota per- All photos are by Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel. % formers.

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