NIAGARA FALLS — The final preparations are in place. The "i" is dotted, the "t" is crossed and the day has finally arrived for Nik Wallenda to walk atop his 2-inch-thick wire from Terrapin Point to Canada's Table Rock.
So how did the star of the show think he'd spend his final night preparing?
"I'm going to try to sleep," he said with a smile Thursday in his final public appearance before his much-anticipated trek over the thundering cataract. "It's ... anticipation and excitement more than anything."
Wallenda arrived in Niagara Falls on Wednesday evening and took to his Twitter account to tell his fans he was beginning to feel the nerves kicking in, 48 hours before he makes history on live television all over the world.
He said the nerves are just a part of the process of fulfilling a childhood dream of his, one he's envisioned completing for decades, ever since he was six and visited the area for the first time.
But Wallenda is a performer, first and foremost. He said he's not nervous because of the attention or his contract to have the walk broadcast nationwide on ABC.
"I started performing at the age of 2," he said. "I'm an entertainer. A large audience is a large part of what we do."
Not all the attention the walk has garnered has been entirely positive, though. Late Wednesday, funny-man Stephen Colbert took to the airwaves in his Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report" and threw sarcastic barbs at the Cataract City, pointing out the city's economic disparity and lack of positive perception in the national spotlight.
"Folks, you know a town's in bad shape when they have to create a tourist attraction to attract tourists to their tourist attraction," Colbert said. "And with the whole world watching on this incredible stage, Niagara Falls will be back on the map." Then he played a clip of Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, fired up about the impact Wallenda's walk will have on the local economy.
The act was designed to make light of Wallenda's walk and the situation the city, and the area, finds itself in. Colbert said he hopes it encourages other communities in the Rust Belt to do their own stunts, like shoot a human cannonball into Lake Michigan or walk through downtown Detroit.
But Wallenda does have high hopes for not only the impact the walk has on him, but also for what it'll mean for the city and the region.
"I think this is great for the area," he said. "Obviously, these are tough economic times. I really do hope this helps turn the economy here around."
And while the attention the walk has brought and will continue to bring to Niagara Falls is much-needed, Wallenda is also hoping to take advantage of some himself. He said he heard an estimate his likeness will be seen by one billion people within 24 hours of the walk being completed.
One thing Wallenda has preached from his first announcement about his desires to walk the wire here to the final press conference before he finally does it is he's not one to ever give up on a goal.
He already demonstrated his never-give-up attitude multiple times throughout the process, whether it was working to get permission from both countries to finding ways to pay for the walk, even if it meant using his own bank account to make it happen.
And as people in the media debate its affect on the community and whether a stunt like this is ultimately good for a city facing economic trouble, Wallenda is certain the impact he'll ultimately have is seen as a positive, thanks to the support he's already felt.
"I'm a fighter," he said. "There have been many extremely large roadblocks on both sides of the border. But no matter where you go, there are always challenges. There are people who say it's good for the area, some who say it's bad for the area, will it attract copycats. But all-in-all, people have stepped up and embraced this. Most of the people I've talked to have been in favor of this."