There are 20 Astoria and Long Island City small business owners who know where Waldo is.
For the month of July, the tall and smiling beloved British children’s illustration character, with his iconic striped shirt, glasses and hat is hiding throughout stores as a six-inch cutout for a special scavenger hunt called “Waldo in Astoria and LIC.”
The game, which celebrates Waldo’s 25th birthday, encourages players of all ages to visit small businesses, though no purchase is required to participate.
“It’s a great way to get people to go out and visit these beautiful local businesses,” said Faye Skandalakis, owner of The Story Nook, an independent bookseller who sells books online, at her Astoria home showroom and as a pop-up store inside Baby Noir children’s boutique.
Candlewick Press, who publishes “Where's Waldo?” books in the United States chose 250 bookstores around the country, and selected The Story Nook as one to participate in this month-long nationwide scavenger hunt. The Story Nook is also the only bookseller in Queens to be chosen.
Printed maps are on-hand at allparticipating stores to help players navigate their way on the hunt.
When players find Waldo hidden inside the different stores, they are given a “I Found Waldo” card. Eight cards win players a Waldo pin; 16 cards garner a Waldo pin and goodie bag with discount coupons and giveaways from each small business. The player is then entered in the raffle to win grand prizes, such as a Waldo book collection set, Waldo memorabilia and gift certificates.
If players set their sights for all 20 Waldos, they receive all the prizes plus a tote bag with a hand- drawn picture of the player, by fashion designer Kazuki Kozuru-Salifoska, owner of Baby Noir, in Astoria.
“We actually had to move Waldo a few times; he was a little too high for the kids,” said Zoe Manuel, an employee at The Jumping Bulldog pet boutique.
Though this scavenger hunt is a great opportunity for kids to engage in a technology-free game, social networking still has its benefits for an interactive game such as this.
“I think it’s really fun to have a scavenger hunt where you can participate on Twitter ‘cause it’s so fast,” said Mackenzi Farquer, owner of SITE, a home decor store.
She also runs the “Waldo in Astoria and LIC” Facebook and Twitter pages.
According to Farquer, her store gets a handful of people everyday looking for Waldo, including elementary-aged children whose mothers are just as excited to play as their kids.
Baby Noir will host the “Found Waldo!” party, which will be held at the end of the game on July 31 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. for families. The celebration will include an arts and craft table, music, refreshments and a special storytime reading by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) for those on hand to enjoy. The grand prize raffles will also be called.
But for the adults participating, there’s a special event just for you.
SITE is throwing an adults-only afterparty on July 31 from 7 to 9 p.m. for players who find all 20 Waldos at the local businesses.
“We’re gonna have beer, wine and snacks to start with,” Farquer said.
“And then we’re gonna have a ‘Where’s Waldo’ themed photo booth,” she added “if all goes as planned.”