Waldo hunters have until July 31 to spot Waldo and have their passports stamped to win prizes.

Tucson Thrift Store 2013

Characters of a different stripe are hiding in plain sight at 25 businesses in Tucson.

For the third year, kids (and their parents, too) are hunting the elusive traveler, who always wears a red-and-white-striped shirt and black-rimmed glasses, among the shelves and displays of businesses in the North Fourth Avenue and Broadway-Country Club Road shopping areas.

Waldo hunters have until July 31 to spot Waldo and have their passports stamped to win prizes. Here’s how it works:

  • Pick up a free passport, which lists the 25 participating businesses, at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave., or at Yikes Toys, 2930 E. Broadway. No purchase is necessary.
  • Spot the 6-inch cardboard version of Waldo at those businesses and get a stamp on the passport.
  • Anyone who gets 20 stamps is eligible to enter a raffle to win prizes from “Where’s Waldo” book publisher Candlewick Press and participating businesses.
  • “All of the participants who turn in their passports (with at least 20 stamps) are invited to an ice cream social at the store in early August,” says Trudy Mills, co-owner of Antigone Books, which is spearheading the hunt in Tucson.

Last year, more than 100 people attended the celebration — many wearing stripes — Mills says.

The Waldo hunt attracts kids and their parents for several reasons, Mills says.

“Since the books are over 40 years old, many parents remember loving the books as kids, so it is fun to go around and share this with one’s own child,” she says. “I think the fact that the act of looking for Waldo is exactly the same thing that goes on with the books is something special.”

The national “Find Waldo Local” campaign, an effort from Candlewick Press and the American Booksellers Association, aims to get shoppers into independent bookstores and local businesses.

“It doesn’t really matter if people shop; the motivation is to introduce people to the business and hope they return,” Mills says. “Interestingly, however, what merchants talk about after participating is the joy of watching folks looking around for Waldo and then getting so very excited when finding him. It’s just plain fun.”

Contact reporter Ann Brown at abrown@tucson.com

Find more information about the hunt — and Waldo himself — at tucson.com