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“Where’s Waldo?” scavenger hunt returns after two-year absence

For the first time since 2019, the Downtown Knoxville Alliance has announced that Waldo, the sneaky literary character, will again be hiding inside downtown merchants in his signature stripes.

The fifth annual “Where’s Waldo?” scavenger hunt is underway through July 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.

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