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Where’s Waldo?

Searching for Waldo in Lake Placid is fun for all ages (Photo provided — Diane Chase)

I love a treasure hunt. I especially love a treasure hunt that brings a book to life. Interacting with favorite characters in imaginative ways allows everyone to share books differently. It gets us out of the house and exploring new things. Movies are wonderful. I’m a huge fan, but sometimes it’s nice to go on a bit of an adventure.

In 2012, Waldo, of the search and find Where’s Waldo? book series made a huge splash by hiding throughout Lake Placid to celebrate his 25th birthday. Now a local tradition, Waldo continues to jump from the book pages each July and hide in 25 local shops throughout Lake Placid.

The “Find Waldo in Lake Placid” rules are simple. If you spot Waldo (and Waldo’s nemesis Odlaw at The Bookstore Plus) in 10 of the 25 participating stores, bring your signed passport back to The Bookstore Plus to receive a $1 coupon and an “I found Waldo” button. If you collect 20 passport signatures from local shops and bring the signed passport back to The Bookstore Plus, you are entered to win a copy of Where’s Waldo? Destination: Everywhere! and other prizes. The search is open for the whole month of July.

As with previous Waldo searches, some shops hide the 6″ cardboard cutout of the time-traveling, world-traveling children’s book character in plain sight. Other local businesses make the search more of a family challenge.

Known in England as “Where’s Wally?,” English-born Illustrator Martin Handford first published the search and find books in 1987. Handford carefully hides Waldo in distinctive places like the beach or zoo. The reader is not only meant to find Waldo, but a list of objects he loses at each location, such as his binoculars, camera, or keys. There is something hypnotic about scanning the page to pick out the familiar lanky cartoon man in his red and white striped shirt, knit hat, and round glasses. Whether traveling or at home, Waldo entertains all ages.

This year’s participating businesses include: Boots and Birdies, Critters, Darrah Cooper Jewelers, Eastern Mountain Sports, Green Goddess, High Peaks Resort, Imagination Station, Just Bead It, Lake Placid Christmas Co, Lake Placid Public Library, Mary Ballou Design, NBT Bank, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Ruthie’s Run, Purple Saige Bistro, The Breakfast Club, The Fallen Arch, Wyatt’s, Little Blue House, Bear Essentials, Sparkle. Adirondack Chocolates, Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery, LPCA Gallery 46, and The Bookstore Plus.

Throughout the years, I’ve found Waldo with my daughter. I’ve found Waldo with friends. I’ve brought visitors along the streets of Lake Placid and set them loose to find Waldo on their own. The fun adventure has us all walking through the local shops and scanning the shelves for that distinctive red and white striped shirt. Of course, a bit of retail therapy has become a part of our own tradition. Searching for Waldo is always free.

To find the elusive cartoon character, stop by The Bookstore Plus, 2491 Main St, or any of the other participating businesses for a free passport. At the end of the month, July 31, The Bookstore Plus invites everyone to dress in their favorite Waldo book character costume and enjoy a party with prizes, raffles, and games.

Don’t forget all the other special events at The Bookstore Plus while you are searching for Waldo. Check out the schedule for story times and author visits with autograph sessions. Call The Bookstore Plus 518-523-2950 or go online at TheBookstorePlus.com for a full schedule.

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time: Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities.” For more family-friendly activities go to www.AdirondackFamilyTime.com.

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