The Where’s Waldo Party at Byrds Books on Tuesday was the culmination of July’s month long scavenger hunt for Waldo, based on the popular “Where’s Waldo” book series. Twenty retail stores participated in hiding Waldo somewhere within the shops, and 900 visits from shoppers proved that kids really wanted to find Waldo.
“I went with my sister and my neighbor,” 10 year-old Danielle DaSilva exclaimed. Her favorite part of finding Waldo was walking around downtown.
Vinnie Trombetto, 7 3/4, said the most difficult Waldo to find was at the English Apothecary on Greenwood Avenue. His favorite part was going to The Toy Room where the owner let him hide Waldo. “He looks like an A to me and they had lots of books, so I hid him between the Ls and Ws”
Vinnie’s mother Nicole Trombetto described the Finding Waldo adventure with enthusiasm. “We did separate trips and they really enjoyed going on the search. It’s not often they want to go into the stores or the places I want to go,” she said.
The project was a success in encouraging people to shop local. Owner of Byrd’s Books Alice Hutchinson said that the 900 visits to local stores would not have been made without hiding Waldo.
Children and parents at the event asked Hutchinson what she would do next, with all of them suggesting some sort of continuation. Hutchinson promised to speak to the group who funded the activity to let them know how much the community enjoyed it.
Hutchinson worked with the local retail stores, the Bethel Chamber of Commerce, and assorted friends, including Tyler Wood, 24, who played the part of Waldo perfectly.
Wood said he thoroughly enjoyed being Waldo. “When I walked down the street, people passing in a car yelled, ‘I found Waldo!’”
Hutchinson, who won a grant for the event, said her shop was one of only 250 bookshops across the country selected to participate. “This was one of the best times I have had in forever,” she said, and added that she felt there needed to be more middle-school aged activities.
There were four winners of the Where’s Waldo Drawing. The names were pulled out of a giant jar by First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, assisted by Waldo himself, who thanked his friends at Molten Java for helping to make his costume.
Grand Prize Winner: Cameryn Danise. 6 1/2
Second Prize: Sean Edwards (who did a fine happy dance when his name was called)
Third Prize Connor Webb
Fourth Prize: Abby Mott