AUBURN – This year’s Advocates for Children Festival, to be held Saturday, Dec. 6, will feature children’s entertainer Rick Charette and yo-yo champ Brandon Baines. Wild Life Critters from Spark’s Ark will also be a part of the event scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Dominic Regional High School.

Lunch will be served. Advance tickets are $3 for children, $5 for adults and available at Advocates for Children, 57 Birch St., or Hannaford stores in Lewiston and Auburn. Tickets will be $4/$7 at the door.

Free-lancer Ruth DeCoster recently chatted with Baines:

• How long have you been yo-yoing?

Eleven years.

• What got you started?

I got started because of a craze on the playground. The year before I came to that school, a yo-yo demonstrator had come and had mesmerized the kids. Consequently, many kids bought yo-yos, and by the time I got there, they were still playing with them and were able to do some basic tricks. I thought it was cool so I picked it up and once everyone else quit, my best friend and I kept going.

• Who is your sponsor (again) and how did they find you?

I have two sponsors now. My yo-yo sponsor is YoYoJam, one of the world’s leading yo-yo manufacturers, and sponsor of many past and present World Champions. They found me through my participation in the yo-yo community and through a video that I made and released on the Internet that highlighted all of my original tricks.

My second sponsor is a watch company called NFW. Along with yo-yoing, watch collecting is my other huge passion. I am very active in online watch collecting forums and luckily for me I am one of the youngest watch collectors that participate in these things. Therefore, people on those forums began to know me as the cool young kid who knew so much about watches and was also a crazy yo-yoer.

I had posted all of my yo-yo videos on the forum, and the members loved them. One night this past May, the owner of NFW, George Fox, who is also a participating member on sent me an e-mail saying that he loved what I could do with yo-yos and wondered if I would represent his company by wearing his watches on stage at contests and promoting them through my yo-yo ability. He also thought I’d be the perfect person to sponsor because my love of watches runs just as deep as my love of yo-yos. So obviously I agreed.

• Any new wins under your belt?

I haven’t won any contests recently, but I did recently place 16th at the 2008 International Yo-Yo Open in New York City, a contest that drew contestants from the U.S., Japan, the Czech Republic, Australia, the UK, Canada, France and Italy.

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