Florida Keys

Do you look like Ernest Hemingway? So do many others in Key West right now

Michael Groover, kneeling, husband of celebrity chef Paula Deen, poses with past winners of the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest Saturday, July 21, 2018, at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West.
Michael Groover, kneeling, husband of celebrity chef Paula Deen, poses with past winners of the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest Saturday, July 21, 2018, at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West. Florida Keys News Bureau

At least 100 burly men — most with full, snowy white beards — are gathered in Key West this week to find out who best resembles legendary author Ernest Hemingway, who made the island his home in the 1930s.

Last year’s lookalike contest drew more than 150 Hemingways vying for the honor. Nearly all the participants choose the older Ernest as a get-up.

The 39th annual Hemingway Days, however, mostly celebrates his literary contributions with various events set to discuss his legacy, poetry readings and film screenings.

But there is also a street fair, a three-day marlin fishing tournament and a Keys version of the Running of the Bulls.

There’s not a lot of running during this event but the Hemingway lookalikes parade down Duval Street with a “bull.”

The festival runs through July 21. Click here for a list of events. Here are some highlights:

  • Thursday, 6:30 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St. Sloppy Joe’s 39th annual Hemingway Lookalike Contest. Come watch the first preliminary round judged by former contest winners; $35 entry fee. Free to watch. .

  • Friday, 6:30 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s. The second preliminary round kicks off.

  • Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s. We will have a winner of the lookalike contest in this final round.

  • Saturday, 12 p.m. Photos with “Papas.” Lookalikes will provide a photo opportunity for fans. Meet on Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s, 201 Duval St.

  • Saturday, 1 p.m. “Running of the Bulls” A festival tradition, this wacky event will feature lookalike contest winners and entrants dressed in their Pamplona best — and a breed of “bull” found only in Key West. The fun starts on Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s.

  • Daily, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “Hemingway Collection” museum days at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. Discover rare artifacts and memorabilia from Hemingway’s life, a life-sized bronze of the author and 59 original pen-and-ink drawings by famed marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey that provide a visual narrative to Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.” Free entry if you mention Hemingway Days at the admission desk. Visit kwahs.org.
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