SANDWICH – The most famous missing person case in literary history seemed solved Saturday by hundreds in Sandwich. “There’s Waldo!” people cried out.
“I must have heard that a million times,” said Ellie Titcomb, who with her aunt, Vicky Titcomb, was rocking a Waldo costume at Saturday’s Sandwich Fest in Sandwich.
Case closed. Or so it appeared. But, in fact, these two were mere imposters, poseurs, if you will, the type who will do anything to get attention. While others at this street
festival sold and promoted via tents, the red-and-white striped duo were walking among the pedestrians to promote a Where’s Waldo scavenger hunt happening in 20 Sandwich retail shops in July.
There will be Waldos, six-inches high, hidden in each of these stores. “People go into the businesses and have to find Waldo,” said Vicky, who is manager of Titcomb’s Bookshop in Sandwich. “Everyone puts them in their businesses in different places.” Waldos will be hidden in a wide variety of stores, said Vicky, including a hardware store, an ice cream shop and a library.
“It’s a fun experience, something to do with the kids,” said Kirby Holmes, co-chair of the retail committee of the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce. “It takes a couple of hours and doesn’t cost any money, and it gets the parents going into businesses they wouldn’t normally go into.”
On July 31, there will be a party at the bookstore and the winner will get a full set of Waldo books, said Vicky. There will be other prizes as well, she said. The promotion, she said, is “one of the most fun promotions we’ve ever done. More than 100 people went last year. Every single person was happy.”
The publisher, Candlewick Press of Somerville, MA, “wanted to promote independent bookstores and small communities, said Vicky. “We thought it was a fabulous idea. People love Waldo, and I love that it supports independent businesses and small towns. Independent businesses are what make a town special. If there were a ton of chain box stores here, how would that feel?”
The promotion is being held in hundreds of communities across the country, said Vicky.
While they were walking around the street fair in character, they were not supposed to talk. Afterward, Vicky said, “We had a blast. We saw people we know, and we waved.” Looking at Ellie in full costume, Vicky said, “She’s an incredibly good sport to do this for me.”
“I didn’t know I was going to be doing this until today,” said Ellie, “I felt dorky for the first ten minutes and then I thought, what the heck, and we had fun. You can’t walk around being self conscious. You have to go for it.”
So where’s Waldo? It appears to still be a cold case, waiting to be solved in July.
— Brian Tarcy