Devaney, Doak & Garrett is again running the annual Find Waldo Local scavenger hunt in downtown Farmington until July 31. Participants are tasked with finding the eponymous character of the “Where’s Waldo?” series placed in different businesses across downtown. Pictured, DD&G employee Nicholas Cole, dressed as Waldo, hands out Find Waldo passports at Farmington’s 2022 Fourth of July Parade, where DD&G won first place in the walkers category for the first time after sending the character to the parade many times. Kay Neufeld/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — Waldo has been missing in action for two years. It’s been quite some time since anyone has been able to find the little fellow in a red-and-white striped shirt in downtown Farmington.

Following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Find Waldo Local scavenger hunt has returned to town.

The scavenger hunt entails finding the eponymous character of “Where’s Waldo?” a series of children’s puzzle books where readers are tasked with finding the famous character in crowded pictures of chaos and fun.

Ten years ago Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers began running the scavenger hunt, sponsored by the book publisher as one of over 200 participants across America – but only one of two in Maine.

DD&G has hidden little Waldos across 20 businesses in downtown Farmington. After collecting a “passport” at DD&G, participants are tasked with finding Waldo in the different businesses and getting a stamp. When they return to the bookshop with at least 18 stamps, participants get a temporary tattoo of Waldo, a pen and get an official invitation to DD&G’s party that wraps up the hunt on Aug. 1.

At the party, Brechner said there will be cake, activities, and prizes that include “Where’s Waldo?” book sets.


The scavenger hunt was promoted at Farmington’s Fourth of July festivities, where bookshop employee Nicholas Cole walked the parade dressed as Waldo handing out passports, as DD&G does most years and won first place in the walkers category for the very first time.

Brechner said he’s excited to see the scavenger hunt return after the hiatus.

“It’s a big positive for everybody,” he said. “The families love to do it, they’re happy it’s back.”

Find Waldo is a “beloved local institution” in the community. Brechner fondly remembers searching for Waldo in the books with his son growing up, as do many other families.

“”Where’s Waldo?” books were perfectly suited to being brought to life in terms of a community wide scavenger hunt,” he said. “It’s a perfect marriage of form and function.”

While the scavenger hunt is providing some fun for the family, it’s also about encouraging people to shop local.

“Everyone’s talking about how it’s taken them into businesses and gotten them to know some of the areas in the downtown a lot better,” Brechner said. “And for the merchants, it’s getting a chance to be visited by lots of families.”

Brechner said the shop local movement is very important to him.

“There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than being a community business and working together and partnering with customers and with other businesses to support the local economy,” Brechner said. “It is an ideal exercise of the principal of working hard to create a robust local economy.”

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