Where’s Waldo? In Old Town

While people are busy finding Pokemon throughout the area, those interested in shopping locally can take part in a different hunt. Find Waldo, a scavenger hunt centered around the iconic striped shirt-wearing traveler, is being used to promote supporting local shops in Winchester and throughout the rest of the country.

Elise Supovitz is the executive director of independent retail and Canada sales for Candlewick Press, publishers of the “Where’s Waldo?” books.

“Find Waldo Local is a month long, coast-to-coast celebration of the Shop Local movement and the iconic children’s book character Waldo that aims to promote local, small businesses, while celebrating summer reading in a fun way,” she stated in an email.

Those who find the Waldos distributed throughout participating businesses can redeem them for prizes.

This is the fifth year Candlewick has done the campaign, and over 250 local booksellers nationwide are participating, including Christine Patrick, owner of Winchester Book Gallery in Old Town.

“To me, it has really demonstrated the diversity of people that come to Old Town,” Patrick said. “We love that collection of people and this was a fun game to give back to them a little. It doesn’t cost anybody anything.”

Supovitz explained a new component added to the campaign this year.

“This year there is (an) additional component to Find Waldo Local! Participants are encouraged to #ColorWaldoAndWin,” she stated. “Then they share a completed Waldo coloring sheet on Instagram. By posting their completed Waldo coloring sheet and including the official hashtag, participants will be entered into a drawing for one of five deluxe Waldo prize packs. Waldo coloring sheets can be collected at participating bookstores.”

Supovitz stated that the minds behind the idea were owners of just the kind of shop that the campaign was designed to benefit.

“Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth, MA had the original idea of a Where’s Waldo program in the summer of 2011 in order to attract more local consumers to their store during the summer, which is their busy season,”‘ she stated. “The program was a hit, so the following summer, in 2012, Candlewick Press and the American Booksellers Association partnered to create a program across the country with 250 participating stores. The program still thrives from year to year, promoting the local economy, small business alliances in participating towns, and summer reading.”

Patrick said she especially enjoys the frivolity and carefree nature of the monthlong campaign.

“It’s very, very laid back and totally silly,” she said. “It’s so much fun I’ve been telling everybody to do it … It’s all silliness. You just get a good time and it’s not a big deal.”

Patrick said that several other Old Town businesses are also participating, and shopping local is the theme present at all locations.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com