Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where's Wally? At MALAHIDE HAS IT festival...

Village Books, the bookshop at the heart of the community in Malahide, were delighted to be one of the official supporters of the MALAHIDE HAS IT Festival. Always great supporters of children's reading, we came up with a fantastic fun event for children to tie-in with the festival and get them reading even more.
As part of the MALAHIDE HAS IT weekend, we sent Wally, star of the Where’s Wally? books, roaming around Malahide on Saturday afternoon, July 24th, checking out the festivities. We invited children to keep an eye out for the famous red and white stripy jumper and hat because if they spotted him, and spoke to him, they were given a fantastic voucher for a free Where's Wally? book to be collected from Village Books. Easy Peasy! 
At 2pm sharp the search was on as children all over Malahide kept their eyes peeled and sought high and low for that elusive but distinctive character Wally! Wally, who was trying to remain  anonymous, sauntered around Malahide village for a few hours in his red and white striped jumper, those striking black glasses, bobble hat and eccentric cane and for every lucky child that found him, which was not easy given the crowds that turned up in the village for the festival, they were rewarded with a free Where's Wally? book voucher. 
It wasn't long until a large group of children spotted the famous children's book character wandering amidst the revelry on the green and the chase was on, as they raced across the green to him, poor Wally ran for his life but was ultimately caught by the speedy and tenacious youngsters and vouchers were distributed to the delighted children who immediately made their way up to Village Books to collect their free books. 
Hat back on, and skew-whif jumper rearranged, Wally continued his tour of the village but as the word spread he was spotted by more eagle-eyed children who had been eagerly waiting for a sighting and with screeches of delight he handed out more book vouchers to the excited fans, even posing for a number of pictures along the way.
By 2.30pm Village Books was fast filling up with children collecting their free books, with over 200 vouchers to give out though Wally's work was not done. He continued on up New Street, swiftly avoiding the lure of Gibneys, only to be sighted again and as children high-fived him and claimed their reward crowds were beginning to gather. There's really no hiding when you look as super-sophisticated as Wally so by 3pm almost 100 free book vouchers were given out and the ladies in the book shop were kept busy handing over the books to the lucky kids who'd spotted and chatted to the famous hide-and-seek champion. 
Stopping for some sustenance, kindly provided by the genial Peter in the form of marshmallow flogs (Wally's favourite food), he continued on his way, heading back down to the green again to check out the children's art competition which Siobhan was managing with aplomb. As soon as the children caught sight of him though the chase was back on! Another hour later and there were another very happy 100 children who had cashed in their vouchers for free books in Village Books and Wally was fit to drop! 
With a smile on his face, and a slight ache in his legs he happily returned to Village Books to say hello to the children who were still collecting books, thank Mary, Orna, Siobhan, Peter and Sadashni for all their hard work, pose for a few last photos and be on his way once more, this time to get lost for a bit longer!
It was a fantastic afternoon, that saw hundreds of children absolutely delighted to not only meet their children's book hero, but also to receive a wonderful free book from Village Books for their efforts. 
Who knows, Wally may be back again soon... keep your eyes peeled! 

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