Search for Waldo across DC creating new memories for young adventurers

WASHINGTON D.C. – Kids (and some adults) are making their way through Northwest D.C. and beyond in search of the literary character Waldo.

You remember him, right? Red and white striped sweater, round glasses, beanie atop his head—I’d say he’s hard to miss but people have been proving that statement wrong since 1987.

Because of the 30-year anniversary of the character, bookstores across the nation have been given the opportunity to coordinate a search for Waldo that goes beyond the page.

“I was thinking I'd be lucky if 10 businesses agreed but I got 10 to agree on the spot,” said Allison Whitten, a bookseller at Politics and Prose.

All told she got 25 businesses to display Waldo somewhere in their stores. Participants are asked to visit at least 10 stores in order to fill their passports that record the Waldo sightings.

If you visit 20, you’re entered into a drawing that will be held on July 31 during a Waldo celebration at the bookstore.

“You visit these businesses and once you find their hidden Waldo-- he's a little cardboard guy, he stands up by himself – get your passport stamped ,” said Whitten.

It’s not always easy to spot the cutout of Waldo at each business.

“We like to give people a challenge but we're not mean,” said Jon Purvis, marketing director at Politics and Prose. “If someone is having a bit of trouble we may just stand closer and sort of nudge them in the right direction.”

Whitten admits that Waldo’s popularity has faded from his heyday but adds that many customers still call for the series by name.

“The benefit of a book like that is family time. I mean people come in all the time and say we love to look at these before we go to bed so you can almost imagine mom and dad and kids all looking at Waldo,” said Whitten.