Where's Waldo? Find him in Boulder and then celebrate his 25th birthday

Since his Where's Waldo journey began in 1987, Waldo has ventured to outer space and Hollywood; he has time-traveled and visited other worlds -- and now he's coming to Boulder.

This month, the notoriously elusive children's book character turns 25, and Boulder Book Store is throwing him a party at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31. Waldo himself will be wandering around (as he's known to do), and there will be snacks, activity stations and a drawing for prizes for scavenger-hunt participants.

That scavenger hunt is now under way, and it's not too late to join in. Waldo has been hiding in businesses around Boulder all month long, and Waldo-spotters can collect red-and-while Waldo birthday cards in the stores where they've sighted him. Collect eight of those cards, and you can turn them in to Boulder Book Store for a Waldo button; collect sixteen cards and you'll get a button and also be entered into the birthday-bash drawing, with prizes including Waldo books, gift cards and items from the participating downtown businesses.

What is it about London-born illustrator Martin Handford's books that have kept Waldo popular for 25 years? "It's a portable game of hide-and-seek," says Christine Cooper of the bookstore's marketing and promotions department. "It's simple enough and challenging enough for all ages." People who were young when they experienced the first Where's Waldo? book are starting to have children now and are passing the story along, she adds, as so often happens with beloved books from childhood.

About 250 independent bookstores nationwide are running similar events with their local business communities. "When Candlewick [Press] let us know about the promotion, we thought it would be perfect for Boulder since we're such a locally minded town," Cooper says. "And we know Boulder loves Waldo based on the typical response to the rogue Waldos that showed up around town last summer."

You don't have to participate in the Waldo scavenger hunt in order to attend the party -- but why wouldn't you? Here are the rules for joining the hunt:

Waldo's Birthday Bash!

Find Waldo in Boulder! 1. Waldo is hiding in the local businesses listed below. Go find him! 2. When you spot him, collect a card from that business. 3. When you have cards from at least 8 different locations, bring them to Boulder Book Store to claim a Waldo button (for the first 100 Waldo spotters) 4. If you collect 16 of the possible 21 cards, turn in your cards at Boulder Book Store to get a Waldo button AND be entered into a drawing for a 6-book deluxe set of the Waldo books and other great prizes. 5. Plan to attend a Waldo grand celebration and prize drawing at 6:30pm on July 31st at Boulder Book Store!

Participating Locations include:

Boulder Book Store Boulder Arts and Crafts ( Blue Skies ( Savory Spice Shop ( Dish Gourmet ( Smooch Frozen Yogurt & Mochi ( Art Source International ( Outdoor Divas ( Starr's Clothing Company ( iSupportU ( Boulder Public Library ( Crocs ( Oliverde ( Nomad Bead Merchants ( The Ritz ( GoLite ( Poppy ( Lindsay's Boulder Deli ( Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant ( Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory ( Muse Art & Floral Boutique (

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Melody Parker
Contact: Melody Parker