“Where should I hide him?” said Elaine Abramson, owner of Unleashed Pet Boutique in Port Washington.
In her hands was a small cardboard stand-up of Waldo, the adventurous and often elusive star of the children’s book series “Where’s Waldo?” by Martin Handford. Abramson tried several places before finding a spot for Waldo to hide before placing him on a low shelf in between some pet care supplies.
“I want the kids to be able to find him, it should be at their eye level,” Abramson said.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the “Where’s Waldo?” book series, The Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington has teamed up with Candlewick Press to bring Waldo to participating businesses in Port Washington this month.
Children of all ages are invited to visit 20 participating local businesses in search of Waldo. Every time they find him, they are given a special card as proof of their discovery. After eight cards are collected, children receive a special button as a reward. If 16 or more cards are collected, their name is entered into a raffle where they can win a set of the “Waldo” book series, along with other prizes.
The raffle drawing will take place at a party hosted by The Dolphin Bookshop on July 31.
“This event is going on all over the country, but it’s still very local,” said Dolphin Bookshop Events coordinator Leslie Stern. “It’s a great way to celebrate Waldo and to get in touch with local businesses in the area.”
The event is still in its first week, but some local businesses have already welcomed groups of children in search of Waldo.
“A group of little kids came in here a few days ago looking for him,” said Dance Arts Centre employee Alex Deleonardis. “A few little girls thought he was in the toilet!”
Local businesses get in on the fun, too, because where they place Waldo in their store is up to them.
“I like to let one of the girls place him in a different spot every day -- we have everyone who works here involved. He’ll be moved later on when someone else comes in for work,” said Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices manager Eddie Gladd.
Until the program ends, businesses will continue to keep children on their toes in search of Waldo, while offering a feeling of community.
“It promotes a real sense of friendship for people, said Paul DePaulis, manager of Gino’s Pizzeria and Restaurant. “Local customers and regulars come in and see it—we do it for them.”
Above: At Unleashed Pet Boutique, on Main Street in Port Washington, Waldo hides between some pet supplies. (July 5, 2012)