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More than 125 white-bearded men resembling Ernest Hemingway are in Key West to compete in the 35th annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest that began Thursday night, 23 July.
The competition is a highlight of the island’s annual Hemingway Days festival honouring the writing talent, sporting pursuits and colourful lifestyle of the author who lived in Key West during the 1930s.
Aspiring Ernests are competing for the prized title of “Papa” during the three-night competition at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a Duval Street saloon that was a hangout for Hemingway and his cohorts.
Many entrants are repeat contenders and most dress in sportsman’s clothes, reminiscent of the author. They parade across Sloppy Joe’s stage before crowds of spectators, attempting to create the “Papa” persona adopted by Hemingway in his later years. Contest judges are former winners including Wally Collins, a restaurant manager who triumphed over rivals; including his oldest son, to take the 2014 title.
The competition’s second preliminary round is set for today and the 2015 “Papa” is to be chosen Saturday night.
Hemingway Days continues through Sunday with events including an offbeat “Running of the Bulls,” the Bacardi Oakheart Key West Marlin tournament and a short story competition directed by author and Hemingway granddaughter Lorian Hemingway.
Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his classics in Key West including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “To Have and Have Not.”
For further information on Hemingway Days, visit www.fla-keys.com/hemingwaymedia
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk