Where's Waldo? In Thomasville, of course. He's turning 25 this year, and to celebrate the famous fellow in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting 20 different independent downtown businesses in Thomasville all through the month of July.
Anyone who wishes to participate can pick up a “Find Waldo in Thomasville!” search list with the names of all the businesses, and collect an "I Found Waldo at ___________" card for each Waldo they spot. Collecting cards in 16 or more businesses and turning them in at The Bookshelf will win a Waldo button and an entry for other, larger prizes to be drawn at a Waldo party on July 31.
The Waldo event is part of a national campaign to celebrate independent businesses and their impact on the local economy.
“The Where’s Waldo promotion is a great way to shop local and support our local businesses. Small businesses like those located in our downtown are the back-bone of our economy. We count on our small businesses to create jobs, support our local sports and youth groups, donate to charitable causes and be great neighbors. This is our opportunity to have some fun and help keep them thriving in our own community,” said Arline Hampton, Executive Director of Main Street and Tourism. “There’s no place like home, so come Downtown to eat, shop and have some fun,” Hampton continued.
For example, $68 of every $100 spent locally stays in the community, compared with $43 of $100 spent at a national chain. In addition, studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.
“Find Waldo Downtown is just a fun way to get people out and see some local stores they may have never seen. To cap it off, we’ll have a Waldo party with games, cupcakes, and a grand prize drawing,” said Katie Chastain, owner of The Bookshelf. “And of course, freebies for Waldo look-alikes.”
Waldo is the creation of Martin Handford, whose entertaining drawings of crowd scenes swept the world in 1987. Since then, the Where’s Waldo books have held a cherished spot on bookstore shelves the world over. There are now over 55 million Waldo books in print worldwide and they’ve been translated into eighteen languages. An entire generation has grown up searching for Waldo and his cast of wandering companions.