After nearly a month of searching, stamping and more searching, participants of the “Where’s Waldo?” challenge were finally ready to cash in.
Last month, Ink Spell Books hosted its seventh annual “Where’s Waldo?” challenge, a nationwide event in which participants search for the popular fictional Waldo figure posted at 25 local businesses. To mark the end of the challenge, the Half Moon Bay bookstore hosted a prize party on Wednesday afternoon. It was packed with dozens of kids and parents eagerly awaiting the prize drawing. Those with more than 20 Waldo sightings, with passports stamped and certified by local businesses, were eligible for the larger prizes. Those with 10 sightings claimed a smaller prize.
Ink Spell Owner Cindi Whittemore estimated there were over 200 prizes awarded at the party, similar to previous years. The store gave out nearly 2,000 passports to participants searching for Waldo.
“It gives people an excuse to go out when they maybe weren’t going to,” she said. “It also gives people an excuse to go into stores they’ve maybe never been in or haven’t heard of. It’s great for that.”
In partnership with the American Booksellers Association, Candlewick Press sponsors the “Where’s Waldo?” event. Ink Spell is one of over 250 independent bookstores to engage in the nationwide event. At the party on Wednesday, prizes were diverse and plentiful, ranging from coloring books to plastic rocket ships.
Anita Maxwell, a resident of El Granada, traveled to 20 stores in two days with her 7-year-old son JamesAndrew to search for Waldo. Maxwell is an employee of Coldwell Banker, and it was the agency’s first time participating and donating prizes to the event. At the prize drawing, JamesAndrew picked out a 4 ½ foot plastic rocket ship.
“It gives local businesses an opportunity to be very kind to children,” Maxwell said. “Most of the businesses are so nice, and I think ‘I have to come back here.’”