Waldo, the striped sweater-wearing character you may recognize from the “Where’s Waldo” children’s books, is hiding in 25 Fort Greene and Clinton Hill businesses this month, and it’s up to locals to find him.
This scavenger hunt, hosted by the Greenlight Bookstore on Fulton Street, is not only a fun summertime activity for families, but an effort “to connect with other businesses in the community,” according to Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, the co-owner of the independent store.
All participating businesses, recruited by Greenlight, have placed a tiny Waldo figurine somewhere inside their establishments. Locals who want to search for Waldo can pick up a “Find Waldo in Fort Greene!” passport at Greenlight, listing all of the businesses involved in the hunt, including Baguetteaboudit!, the Fort Greene Garden Center, Habana Outpost and the Pratt Area Community Council, to name a few. When you spot Waldo, ask for a store stamp or signature. With ten signatures on your passport, you can return to Greenlight to claim an “I Found Waldo” sticker and a “$1 off” coupon. Once you reach 20 of the 25 possible signatures, you can return for another sticker and coupon. You will also be entered into a drawing for a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books, plus other prizes.
If you participate in the Waldo scavenger hunt, put July 31 on your calendar – at 4 p.m., Greenlight will host a “Waldo-palooza,” where prizes will be given to those with the most Waldo sightings.
Although the hunt is geared toward kids, it’s open to adults as well: “Whoever wants to participate,” Bagnulo said.
In the past, other independent bookstores in various states have organized the Waldo scavenger hunt, which has attracted business both to their own stores and to other participating establishments. The hunt is a plus for these bookstores, which have been doing well despite the availability of books at larger chain stores, online and on Kindles and Nooks.
“It’s a place where people can encounter neighbors and get to know staff,” Bagnulo said of the independent bookstore. “Here, you get to interact more at a personal level. Stores like ours are having a really good moment right now.”