The news reports are rolling in as independent businesses nationwide once again prepare for the summer shop-local event featuring the classic children’s book character Waldo.
Find Waldo Local is an annual event co-sponsored by Candlewick Press and the American Booksellers Association that invites children to pick up event passports at any of 250 participating independent bookstores across the country; the passports guide customers on scavenger hunts through local small business communities, as children and families seek the elusive bespectacled picture book character to earn stamps toward fun prizes.
Here are a few announcements of what’s to come for this year:
- Waldo will be hiding out in Hardwick and Greensboro, Vermont, where 22 businesses are participating, including the Galaxy Bookshop. A grand prize drawing on July 31 will offer lucky winners tickets from The Highland Center for the Arts.
- In Iowa City, Iowa, Prairie Lights Books is organizing its scavenger hunt among 34 participating shops throughout the downtown area and the Northern District. “Shop owners have told us that they love it,” said Prairie Lights fiction buyer and event coordinator Kathleen Johnson, “because a lot of people who have come in for ‘Where’s Waldo?’ have come back when they have a need that they know can be met at that store, whether it’s art supplies or clothing or gift items — anything like that.”
- In the Adirondack Mountains, Waldo will be hanging out in Lake Placid, as coordinated by The Bookstore Plus; 25 local businesses are participating.
- Byrd’s Books in Bethel, Connecticut, has rallied 10 different businesses for Find Waldo Local. A finale celebration will be held on July 31, where prizes will be awarded, including a deluxe Where’s Waldo boxed set.
- Also in Connecticut, Books on the Common in Ridgefield is energized for the event. “This is our seventh year organizing Find Waldo in Ridgefield, and we look forward each year to seeing all the Waldo hunters enthusiastically looking for him in our store and all over town,” said co-owner Ellen Burns.
- Branches Books & Gifts in Oakhurst, California, will offer a number of prizes from participating businesses during its grand prize drawing and finale celebration on July 31.
- More than 30 businesses in Knoxville, Tennessee, are celebrating Find Waldo Local, including Union Avenue Books.
Find Waldo Local runs July 1 to July 31. Participating booksellers are invited to send photos and anecdotes to BTW at [email protected].