Happy 25th Anniversary, Wally!

I was in the fourth grade when I first found Waldo, during what was supposed to be Ms. Pittman’s reading class. It had been at least a year since my classmates and I “discovered” Waldo, and I was a little late to the game. So, there was a lot to prove.

During those weeks of looking and straining and crossing my eyes (I know qualify as legally blind), I was convinced that the Waldo book I’d acquired was part of a bad batch and that Waldo mistakenly wasn’t really in the pictures. It took me a month to find the bugger peeking out from behind some beach umbrella in what is now a classic Waldo beach scene.

I haven’t found Waldo since the fourth grade, but perhaps Summer 2012 is my year to find Waldo a little closer to home.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of British illustrator Martin Handford’s Where’s Wally? series, and to celebrate, a hefty list of businesses in the NYWC’s hood — Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, Brooklyn — will host a month-long scavenger hunt, challenging customers to cross small-business thresholds and, of course, spot the Elusive Striped One.

To offer the tiniest clue ever: Waldo will be about six inches tall, and you’ll catch him hanging out in neighborhood staples like Greenlight Bookstore, Habana Outpost, La Bagel Delight, and the Smoke Joint, among others. Once you’ve spotted him, collect an “I found Waldo at ___.” card from the business — and don’t lose it. If you collect the most cards, you could win a six-volume set of Where’s Waldo?  books and some other cool stuff at the big finale party at the end of the month.

The hunt for Wally kicks off July 1, and anyone can participate, so make it a family /neighborhood / office-wide effort! Click here for a full list of participating businesses, and check out the Waldo warm-up below.

Remember the beach scene that tortured me in fourth grade? Take a stab at it!

Where’s Waldo? Click for full-size image.