The World Yo-Yo Contest is finally moving away from Orlando’s Rosen Plaza Hotel in favor for more exotic locations. 2014’s WYYC will be held in Prague, Czech Republic and then on to Tokyo, Japan in 2015. Now that the contest is finally out of Orlando, where might be a good place to hold it when it comes back state side in 2016? I can only speak for the places i’ve personally visited and there’s probably an argument for a great town not listed that I simply haven’t had the chance to see yet (looking at you, Portland). Here are 5 cities, in no real order, that I personally feel would be a great fit for the World Yo-Yo Contest in 2016.
The Chi; home to deep dish pizza, Al Capone, and Yeezus. Triple Crown saw the potential for a great Chicago contest and while attendance for Triple Crown Chicago was mediocre at best, it was more the fault of scheduling the yoyo competition a week from Worlds more than anything.
Like Orlando, Chicago is not a cheap city, but you’ll get more value from your dollar in the windy city than you would in the Orlando humidity. The best things about a good yoyo contest are the activities you can do outside the yoyo competition. For shopping, there is something for everyone; Nike Town, Marc Jacobs, and Reckless Records to name a few. For the adults, there are even bars who host their very own Smiths night. Chicago also bleeds american history and there are a number of fantastic things to do like take historical tours, check out the second tallest building in the U.S, Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower), take a ride out on Lake Michigan, and visit any number of the many neighborhoods the city has to offer. Just stay out of Chi-Raq though.
Coffee, Grunge, and yeah, Rain.
Before we get into the weather kick, Seattle is a great city with an already established and successful regional yoyo competition with the Pacific Northwest Yoyo Contest. It has a leg up in that there are people already in the area who are capable and could help run things. These events are tiresome, so mark it on the plus side that there’s great coffee here to get you through the day. Worlds in Seattle would mean the risk of rain, but when does it not rain in Orlando? Hell, it rains in Orlando when there aren’t any clouds in the sky. The single biggest reason to hold the World Yo-Yo Contest in Seattle is that maybe Sterling Quinn would compete again; that I think, is worth its consideration.
New Orleans, Louisiana
NOLA; Jazz, voodoo, Weezy F. Baby.
Taking a drive to just about any street on New Orleans and you can see the history before your eyes in the weathered buildings. The big easy is just that, an easy going place,that, despite its hardship, and possibly because of it, remains one of the most tight knit communities in the U.S. The people who live there would not live anywhere else. For yoyoing, its like the rest of the cities on this list, accepting of the weird and different. Take a stroll down the French Quarter, hit up Bourbon St., learn about voodoo, buy a souvenir. If you stick around the French Quarter, it is pedestrian friendly which is always good for traveling in large packs of yoyo players. The summer weather might be a little swampy, but pop into a museum and grab some culture and air conditioning. Take an afternoon to plan out prime filming locations; New Orleans was good enough for the latest season of American Horror Story, so it should be sufficient for your Youtube yoyo video.
ATX is a sleeper city in this list. For the uninitiated, Austin is the capital of Texas and a small liberal oasis deep in red country. There hasn’t been a major yoyo competition in Texas for some time now, and while I could also recommend other great Texas cities, Austin has the best balance of small town charm and big city amenities.
Austin is a city that is the perfect balance of notoriety and hipness that the World Yo-Yo contest could flourish in. It’s slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” is meant to promote local businesses and economy. It is the type of city that celebrates uniqueness and diversity, something the yoyo community has plenty of. It’s the live music capital of the world and there’s always a show going on. 6th st. is crazy on the weekends when they shut down traffic and pedestrians take over the city streets in the middle of downtown Austin. You can see bats take flight at dusk by the Congress St. bridge, take an afternoon to find the Secret Beach, and It is also one of the best places to get a breakfast taco in the morning and a chicken and waffle taco late at night.
When I heard the World Yo-Yo Contest was moving out of Orlando I was ecstatic, thinking, “Florida, never again.” But then I visited Miami, and holy shit, Miami is awesome.
It’s the southern most major U.S city and that means tropical weather. I visited early November and the climate was wonderful, though Worlds is typically held in the summer and if it’s anything like Orlando, it could be problematic. Unlike Orlando, you’ll actually want to power through the weather to see what the town has to offer. It has the design district with plenty of galleries and restaurants. Downtown Miami is great to explore on foot, but do so at night and get the full experience with skyline turned bright. One of the most impressive things about the city was just how damn happy everyone was. Maybe it’s something in the water, I don’t know, but whatever it is, it rubs off on you. I’m over Orlando, but I wouldn’t mind the WYYC being held just three and a half hours south.
Do any of these cities have a realistic shot at the World Yo-Yo Contest in 2016? They probably don’t, but no one knows for certain what the future holds and really the point here is that most any respectable city is better than Orlando, again. The contest is moving around the world now, do you really want it to be Prague, Tokyo…..Orlando? Is that the best we have to offer or is it the most convenient option? Change is happening, lets look forward.