KEY WEST, Florida (FloridaToday.news) — Nearly 140 bearded men resembling Ernest Hemingway converged on Key West, the late author’s home in the 1930s, to compete in a Hemingway look-alike contest that began Thursday night.
This challenge is the highlight of the island’s Hemingway Days festival, dedicated to the literary talent and adventurous life of the Nobel laureate.
During his years in Key West, Hemingway wrote classics including For Whom the Bell Tolls and To Have and Have Not.
The three-day lookalike contest is held at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where Hemingway often spent time with local and literary friends.
- In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, previous winners of the Hemingway look-alike contest, including (left to right) David Douglas, Zach Taylor and John Avil, and honorary look-alike Brian Sinclair, sing “Happy Birthday” to Ernest Hemingway on Thursday, July 20, 2023, on the eve of the late author’s 124th birthday, at a bar e Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida. Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)
- In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Zach Taylor, “Dad” Hemingway’s birthday winner, on Thursday, July 20, 2023, can
- In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Tom Grizzard (right), winner of the 2008 Hemingway “Papa” look-alike contest, and other past winners judge the 2023 contestants on Thursday, July 20, 2023, at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via AP)
- In this photo courtesy of the Florida Keys News Bureau, Chris Fisher (left) of Columbus, Ohio, receives help from Jenny Fischer as he dons a wool sweater to mimic Ernest Hemingway’s signature look despite record high temperatures during the 2023 Hemingway Daddy Look-Alike Contest, Thursday, July 20, 2023, at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key -West, Florida. (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau via hotspot)
Closely watched by a panel of judges from previous winners, including 2022’s John Avila of Dade City, Florida, the contestants take turns ranting and marching across the Sloppy Joe stage.
Many of them are regular challengers who bring their own welcome sections, and most of them try to replicate the “daddy” personality and look adopted by Hemingway in his later years.
The second preliminary round of the contest is scheduled for Friday, the 124th anniversary of Hemingway’s birth on July 21, with the 2023 winner to be chosen on Saturday night.
Hemingway Days continues into Sunday with activities including a quirky parody of the Run of the Bulls, a street fair, and the Key West Marlin Tournament, which recalls the author’s passion for fishing in the Florida Keys.