Knoxvillians might have wondered, “Where’s Waldo?” over the past couple of summers. For the first time since 2019, the sneaky literary character will be hiding inside downtown merchants in his signature stripes, the Downtown Knoxville Alliance has announced.
The fifth annual scavenger hunt is happening July 1-31 with a record-number of merchants participating. More than three dozen downtown shops, restaurants, museums and other organizations will display a cutout of Waldo. All players need to do is pick up a passport at a participating business, which can be identified by a window cling at the entrance, and ask for a passport stamp once they find the fellow in black-rimmed spectacles. The free Knoxville Trolley will help participants explore the city and collect stamps.
“We are excited to welcome Waldo and thousands of players back to Downtown Knoxville this summer,” said Michele Hummel, executive director of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. “In 2019, more than 5,000 people participated, and we are anticipating even larger crowds this summer as families explore the area and enjoy all the fun along the hunt.”
Steadfast seekers who collect 20 or more stamps can enter to win Waldo books from Union Ave Books. Players are encouraged to pose in front of the Where’s Waldo? photo op in Market Square, and those who share their scavenger hunt memories using the hashtag #foundwaldoknox on social media will have weekly chances to win gift cards from the winner’s choice of participating businesses.
Candlewick Press, the publisher of Where’s Waldo?, partnered with the American Booksellers Association to establish scavenger hunts across the country. The event encourages residents and visitors to view cities with fresh eyes, which are needed to spot Waldo! Union Ave Books is the host location of Knoxville’s search and started collaborating with neighboring businesses in 2016. The event took a pause due to pandemic protocols.
For more information about Where’s Waldo? and other happenings in Downtown Knoxville, visit downtownknoxville.org/waldo.
“Waldo isn’t the only thing you’ll find on the hunt,” Hummel said. “Visit vendors at the Market Square Farmers’ Market, check out a book at Lawson McGhee Library, cool off with a sweet treat and experience Downtown Knoxville during July. We appreciate the business owners and employees who make this scavenger hunt not only successful, but also a magical memory for families.”
About the Downtown Knoxville Alliance
Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance (DKA). Formed in 1993 as a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), the district encompasses a 0.67-square-mile area and is supported by a special assessment to property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. The DKA continually focuses on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in Downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit downtownknoxville.org.