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'Where's Waldo' hunt about to begin

This year, the iconic children's book character, Waldo, turns 25.

And Waldo, as it turns out, will be right here in Park Rapids in July. Beagle Books and Bindery is hosting a month-long scavenger hunt to find Waldo in 29 local businesses in July.

Businesses have been provided with a stack of search lists with names of the participating merchants and each have 100 "I found Waldo" cards to give to anyone spotting a six-inch Waldo standee on display. Merchants will also have the search lists for those starting the game.

Throughout the month there will be prizes awarded to players and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, Beagle Books will host a "Waldo shindig" with plenty of hoopla.

Rules of the game:

Head to businesses listed below and collect a card. When 10 cards have been accumulated, bring them to Beagle Books and Bindery to claim a Waldo button (for the first 100 spotters.)

Those gathering 20 of the 29 cards receive a Waldo button and are entered in a drawing for a six-book set of Waldo books and other prizes.

And all are invited to the Waldo grand celebration July 31.

Participating merchants are Beagle Books and Bindery, Brigid's, Toys for Boys, Fresh Catch, Bella Caffé, Max Bailey Photography, Nature's Accents, Blank Canvas Gallery,

Cattail Creek Framing, Monika's Quilt and Yarn Shop, Smokey Hills Art, Albrecht Jewelers, Dogs Paw, Glik's, Zula Clothing & More, Park Rapids Area Library,

River Bend Expressions, Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Good Life Café, 3rd Street Market, Summerhill on 2nd, Park Rapids Enterprise, Wildwood Enchantment, Aunt Belle's Confectionary, Tin Ceiling, Forest and Floral, Downtown Diva, J&B Foods and Wild Loon Outfitters.

For those unacquainted with the fellow, "Where's Waldo?" is a series of children's books created by British illustrator Martin Handford.

The books consist of a series of detailed double-page spread illustrations depicting dozens of people doing a variety of amusing things at a given location. Readers are challenged to find a character named Wally hidden in the group. Wally's distinctive red-and-white striped shirt, bobble hat, and glasses make him slightly easier to recognize, but many illustrations contain "red herrings" involving deceptive use of red-and-white striped objects.

The first book in the series, titled "Where's Wally," was published in 1987. The books became extremely popular and were localized for many different territories, with name changes for Wally in certain regions. The franchise also spawned other media in a more storyline-based form, including a TV series, a comic strip and a series of video games.