For the fourth year in a row, the American Booksellers Association partnered with Candlewick Press for Find Waldo Local. As ABA senior program officer Joy Dallanegra-Sanger noted in encouraging booksellers to participate in 2015, “Stores who held scavenger hunts established stronger relationships with their local businesses, brought smiles to thousands of children, and sold lots of books."
This year 240 bookstores accepted the invitation to participate in Where’s Waldo? scavenger hunts in conjunction with neighboring businesses. Those who did were so enthusiastic that Candlewick just announced that it will sponsor Find Waldo Local for a fifth year.
“I think it’s safe to say that Find Waldo Local has become a summer tradition, which towns across America look forward to all year long,” said Elise Supovitz, executive director of independent retail and Canada sales at Candlewick. “This year our host indie bookstores outdid themselves with creative and savvy month-long events.”
Below are some examples of how that creativity paid off with smiles.
To celebrate Where’s Waldo, the Book Nook in Brenham, Tex., set up a photo booth for the month of July, with hats, glasses, and word bubbles for customers to use.
Bill Skees, owner of the Well Read Bookstore in Hawthorne, N.J., gives “the littlest prize winner,” Abby, her prize. Photo: Laura Marie Huisking.
Display of Waldo books and enticing prizes prior to the party at Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, N.C.
Waldo-watching at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, Pa.
Photobombing Waldo (played by bookseller Eliot Eno) at the party at DDG Booksellers in Farmington, Maine. Photo: San Oppenheim.
Banner for the Find Waldo Local 2015 promotion at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix.
Window display at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vt.
“We had 25 businesses (well, 24 businesses and one library) hide a Waldo in their location. More than 40 participants turned in completed passports, and three participants got all 25 stamps,” says Jenny Lyons, sales and marketing manager at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, Vt. “If you live in Middlebury, or visited our town during the month of July, chances are good you yourself spotted a Waldo or at the very least, a Waldo seeker.”
Jonah Zimiles, owner of [words] Bookstore in Maplewood, N.J., with daughter Liz Zimiles (l.), and the lucky grand prize winner.
At the wrap-up party at Watermark Books & Cafe in Wichita, Kan., kids played Pin-the-Hat-on-Waldo and other games.
Some of the winners at the Where’s Waldo? Grand Prize Celebration join Wenda (Amanda Cassulis) at Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, N.Y. . “We had a great time searching for Waldo,” says Lauren Cassulis, children’s event coordinator and Amanda’s sister.
Two inductees into the Waldo Hall of Fame for Byrd’s Books in Bethel, Ct. To qualify, Waldo hunters had to find all 25 businesses on their passport. Forty-five kids were inducted and 97 kids received 20-25 stamps.
Jojo, the first Find Waldo winner at Letterpress Books in Portland, Maine. “We certainly had fun with this year’s Find Waldo game, courtesy of Candlewick,” says Karen Bakshoian, who handles marketing at the bookstore. “Several families learned about our new bookstore when they found the Waldo passports in participating indie stores.”
The grand-prize winner with Waldo and Wenda at the party at the Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, Ct.
Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, Pa., celebrated with an ice cream party.
Event coordinator Kristy Houston (l.) and children’s book buyer Jane Clugston at Moravian Book Shop in downtown Bethlehem, Pa., get ready to party for Waldo. “We had so much fun with this event and can’t wait to do it again,” says Houston of the Find Waldo Local promotion.
The “littlest Waldo” at the Moravian Book Shop.