Waldo is in the thick of summertime fun throughout July at 24 local businesses

By Suman Ganapathy

Suman Ganapathy

A plethora of activities in Morgan Hill attracts residents and visitors all year long, with summertime as its crowning glory. Few activities appeal to both children and adults, but one such program, the Shop-Local-Find-Waldo-Here! contest, fits the bill perfectly.

Waldo, the children’s book character with the red-and-white striped shirt and cap, is in the thick of summertime fun again this July at 24 local businesses. Participants pick up a pink passport at any one of the participating businesses, and collect stamps or signatures when they spot Waldo at each of the locations. Passport holders with at least 10 different stamps/signatures receive a fun button and book coupon limited to the first 125 Waldo spotters. Those with at least 20 stamps/signatures are additionally entered in a drawing for Waldo books and other amazing prizes. The deadline is July 31, before the party-and-drawing at the program’s headquarters, BookSmart bookstore, at 2 p.m. that day.

This summer program is the perfect union of business savvy and family activity. Ingeniously designed to encourage residents and visitors to patronize local businesses while incorporating a fun scavenger hunt to drum up excitement for children during summer break, it is also an ideal form of advertisement for small family-run businesses that are new or have moved recently due to the construction downtown or the vagaries of the economy.

According to BookSmart owners, Cinda Meister and Brad Jones, it is a fun way to get kids excited to read during the summer break, and for all residents to explore our town. According to store employee, Ellyn Gaich, the children love this program, as do parents, happy to draw their kids out of videogames and cellphone addiction while themselves discovering stores they haven’t heard of before.

Waldo has decided to grace Morgan Hill businesses at both downtown and the Vineyard shopping complex locations this summer.

Suman Ganapathy is a Morgan Hill Downtown Association board member. She is also a Leadership Morgan Hill Class of 2018 alumnus, AAUW board member, volunteer docent with the San Jose Museum of Art ‘Let’s Look at Art’ program, and a  Morgan Hill Library, Culture and Arts Commissioner.