BookSmart earlier this month celebrated 10 years of finding an elusive book character named Waldo and giving local children and families a fun activity that promotes the value of shopping locally. And this year, the 10th anniversary of “Find Waldo Local” featured support for a good cause that provides services for families, says a press release from BookSmart.
The Find Waldo scavenger hunt in Morgan Hill took place in July. The iconic children’s book character in the red-and-white-striped shirt and black-rimmed specs hid out in 21 local businesses throughout town, the press release says. People could pick up a “passport” that contained a list of the participating stores, then go around to local shops and try to find Waldo hidden among the shelves and displays.
The game is “designed to get people to shop locally and explores businesses they may not have known before,” says the press release. Find Waldo Local is an annual national celebration sponsored by Candlewick Press and the American Booksellers Association “to help unite small business owners across the U.S. and to promote to consumers the value of shopping locally.”
BookSmart, located at 421 Vineyard Town Center, and its affiliated nonprofit, BookSmart Community Advantage, organized the hide-and-seek adventure in partnership with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and businesses throughout town.
“Find Waldo Local this year was a HUGE success and we want to extend a big thank you to all the businesses that participated in this great family event. Let’s do it again next year!” said BookSmart co-owner Brad Jones.
Each of the participating businesses in Find Waldo Local donated fun prizes. Completed passports were entered in a drawing for one of the prizes, which were awarded at the month-long event’s “wrap party” Aug. 1 at the local bookstore. More than 30 families attended the wrap party to celebrate the completion of the scavenger hunt together.
“The local businesses that participated love being part of such a fun community event,” said Nick Gaich, CEO/President of the chamber. “It is a chance to draw existing and new customers into stores and restaurants. We’re all looking forward to doing it again next year and encouraging even more to join in!”
This year’s Find Waldo game added a philanthropic element to the fun—for each completed passport that was submitted, a book was donated to the local FIRST 5 Community Solutions Family Resource Center, says the press release. The organization works with children ages 0-5 (and their parents/caretakers) who are living with development and/or mental health issues that affect their social and emotional well being.
Maria Medel, Director of FIRST 5, noted that the organization is “so very appreciative of all the enthusiasm you created for kids and families in the community this summer and choosing our FIRST 5 families as the beneficiaries of the books.”
Morgan Hill was one of 300 communities around the country participating in the Find Waldo Local initiative.
“Where’s Waldo?,” published in 1987, is the title of the first book in the popular book series of children’s puzzle books by author Martin Handford. The books consist of a series of detailed illustrations depicting dozens or more people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find Waldo and other characters and objects hidden in the group.