White-Bearded Floridian Wins Key West Hemingway Lookalike Contest In Annual Festival

A Florida former air traffic controller has won a Hemingway Lookalike contest in Key West — the contest was part of the annual Hemingway Days festival honoring the iconic writer. The Associated Press, via NBC News, reports that the white-bearded fellow beat off competition from 122 other entrants to claim the prize. Maybe not quite the same type of contest Hemingway was in to, but Papa would be proud of being remembered so fondly.

The contest, held in Sloppy Joe’s bar, one of many around the world which can be counted as an old haunt of Hemingway’s, was just one of a number of events held to commemorate the late author.

Some of the festival's events center on Sloppy Joe's, a Key West haunt of Hemingway's.

CBS Miami reports on another event put on by the festival, a bull run, of sorts, a light take on the world-famous Pamplona bull run, which Hemingway took part in, in 1923. This time, instead of a very real half-ton of muscle and anger, the bulls are instead, wheeled, and ridden and pushed through the streets of Key West, by dozens of Hemingway lookalikes.

The lookalikes then gathered outside the bar to sing Happy Birthday to the late author, marking what would have been his 116th year. Below is a video from last year’s “running of the bulls,” giving you a view of the strange (and wonderfully surreal) sight of dozens of white-bearded, red-bereted men leading wheeled bulls, that would have met Key West’s residents Saturday.

According to the Florida Keys tourism website, Hemingway Days also featured: a marlin fishing competition (Hemingway himself caught a record-breaking Marlin back in 1935,) an exhibition of Hemingway memorabilia, book readings and signings, and a literary competition overseen by Ernest’s granddaughter, Lorian Hemingway. The writing competition was won this year by a California community college professor, Riba Taylor, according to the Associated Press, via Fox.

Ernest Hemingway lived in Key West during the 1930s, writing To Have and To Have Not, as well as The Green Hills of Africa, while living in what is now known as Hemingway House. He left the island in 1937 to report on the Spanish Civil War, his experiences of which would inspire For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Hemingway Days looks like a great way to celebrate the Nobel- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Just wonder if the bars in Key West can knock up a couple of Death In the Afternoons.

[Lead image by Erin Borrini, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0, second image by Pilar Berguido, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0]