Where's Waldo now?
If you guessed Tucson, you're right.
For the month of July, the famous traveler in a red-and-white striped shirt and black-rimmed glasses is hiding out in 26 Tucson businesses.
He's waiting to be found by customers as part of a Where's Waldo? scavenger hunt that ends July 31.
The publisher of Where's Waldo? books, Candlewick Press, started a national scavenger hunt last year to promote the books and to encourage consumers to go into local stores they might not have gone into before.
"They (scavenger hunt participants) don't have to buy anything to participate," said Trudy Mills, co-owner of Tucson's Antigone Books and organizer of the local hunt. "But hopefully they'll see stores they like in the process."
The general idea of the scavenger hunt was promoted to bookstores across the nation by Candlewick Press, but Mills says details of the contest are left up to the store.
This year there are 26 participating businesses in three areas of town - North Fourth Avenue, downtown and the strip of businesses that houses Yikes Toys, west of Broadway Village on East Broadway at Country Club.
Mills said there may be a special prize for anybody who finds all 26 Waldos. "It's an interesting challenge for people to get 26," she said.
The contest is bringing more people into Lollipop Toys, 543 N. Fourth Ave., said co-owner Alexsis Corral. "Usually summer is pretty dead on Fourth Avenue, so this has helped bring in quite a few people."
Corral said when she visited the store over the weekend, at least a dozen people came in within the hour, and were having a good time looking for Waldo.
Several of them have found him, she said. "Sometimes it takes them a while. It takes the little ones longer because it's up high. They're really good at it."
Patricia Katchur, owner of Yikes Toys, said her store already has had a handful of people in looking for Waldo.
"People are excited about it," Katchur said. "I think it gives you something to do in the summer with children."
Customers of Yikes Toys have to look closely among the quirky toys and other fun stuff to find Waldo.
"It's in the open, but he's sort of camouflaged a little," Katchur said. "Unless we sell the two items surrounding him."
Katchur has been known to give slight hints, such as "you're getting warm or cold" if a customer is struggling. "Yikes has so much stuff, it can be intimidating," she said.
Where's Waldo was created by Martin Handford in 1987, and has been published in more than 50 countries and 25 languages. Some scenes are made up of more than 900 figures, and it can take Handford up to three months to finish one scene.
The hunt for Waldo
To participate in the Where's Waldo? scavenger hunt, pick up a passport that lists the 26 businesses that have each hidden a 6-inch Waldo.
Those who spot Waldo will receive a stamp on their passport for that location. Participants who get 20 stamps will be entered into a drawing to win Waldo prizes, as well as prizes donated by many of the participating businesses.
Pick up passports at: :
• Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave..
• The children's section of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave.
• Yikes Toys, 2930 E. Broadway.
Participants who spot at least 20 Waldos must turn in their passports at Antigone Books by 7 p.m. July 31 to be eligible for prizes.
He's here, too
Waldo appears today in the Arizona Daily Star on the front page, Page A7 and one other spot. First person to take a picture of his secret newspaper hiding spot and post it on our Facebook page wins a little prize. www.facebook.com/arizonadailystar
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at email@example.com or 573-4137.