NATIONAL YO-YO DAY
On June 6 we celebrate National Yo-Yo Day at National Day Calendar to remember the iconic stringed toy that generations have enjoyed. We are using today’s National Day as a day to give our talents a whirl and try your hand at The Sleeper, Walk the Dog, Shooting the Moon, Around the World or Hop the Fence!
The yo-yo is an object consisting of an axle connected to two disks and a length of string looped around the axle. You move a yo-yo by holding the free end of the string, allowing gravity or the force of a throw to spin the yo-yo and unwind the string, then allowing the yo-yo to wind itself back again. The activity is known as “yo-yoing.”
Many believe the yo-yo was first invented in ancient Greece. In fact, a Greek vase painting from 500 BC displays a boy playing with a yo-yo. The Greeks used these yo-yos in ceremonies and presented them to certain gods when a child came of age. Yo-yos made of other materials, however, were used for play.
Yo-Yoing to the U.S.
The yo-yo came to the United States through a young boy by the name of Pedro Flores. When he immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines as a young boy, he recalled playing with a toy called a bandalore. The toy inspired Flores to create a business, naming it the Flores Yo-yo. Flores started his business with just a dozen hand-made toys. Between 1928 and 1932 the Yo-yo Manufacturing Company operated in Santa Barbara, California. He eventually added two factories in Los Angeles and Hollywood. On on average day, the factories would produce 300,000 yo-yos per day. Flores sold his companies to Donald F. Duncan in 1932. It was Duncan that would make the yo-yo popular in America when he began manufacturing of the Duncan Yo-Yo in the early 1900s. He was the first to trademarked the name “Yo-Yo” in 1932.
The Yo-Yo Around the World
The first World Yo-Yo Contest was held in London, England in 1932 with Harvey Lowe winning yo-yo title. The contest became an annual event in 1992 and held in Montreal, Canada until 1999, when Hawaii became host of the event. The contest would then move to Orlando until 2013. Today, the International Yo-You Federation manages and organizes the world contest. Each year, the event is held in a different country, with around 33 countries competing each year. The contest is now known as YoYoCon.
Here are some more fun facts about the yo-yo:
- Syria banned the yo-yo in 1933 because they believed the toy was responsible for a severe drought.
- On August 24, 1998 a “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” episode featured a video tape about how people made wooden yo-yos and a boy named Evan demonstrated some yo-yo tricks.
- In 1999, the National Toy Hall of Fame elected the Duncan Yo-Yo into its halls at The Strong in Rochester, New York.
- The largest yo-yo in the world weighs 4,620 pounds and was created by Beth Johnson. She demonstrated her yo-yo in Cincinnati, Ohio on September 15, 2012.
- In 2020, Michael Francis from Kitchener, Ontario broke the world record by spinning 19 yo-yos simultaneously. The previous record was 16.
- The National Yo-Yo Museum is located in Chico, California.
- We often use the term yo-yoing to describe a person fluctuating between two difficult decisions.
- Collectors spend hundreds of dollars on rare, vintage, and retro yo-yos.
7 NATIONAL YO-YO DAY CELEBRATIONS
Test your yo-yoing skills by trying as many yo-yo tricks as possible. Do you know how to do the pinwheel or walk the dog? Other ways to celebrate the day include:
- Picking up a new yo-yo.
- Learning a new yo-yo trick.
- Starting a yo-yo collection or adding to one you already have.
- Posting photos of your yo-yo collection.
- Teach someone how to do a complex yo-yo trick such as the Double or Nothing.
- Host a yo-yo competition.
- Share your best yo-yo tricks on social media and tag #NationalYoYoDay.
NATIONAL YO-YO DAY HISTORY
National Yo-Yo Day credits Daniel Volk for founding this National Day in Arcade, New York in 1990. June 6 is also the birthday of yo-yo king Donald F. Duncan. Volk once worked for Duncan Toy Company as a talented yo-yo demonstrator from 1976-1978, touring the western part of the U.S.