Locator Super: Key West, Fla.
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B-roll of Hemingway look-alikes competing in first round of contest Thursday night and a “Happy Birthday” cake at Sloppy Joe's Bar.
Video source: Florida Keys News Bureau
KEY WEST, Fla. -- Nearly 140 bearded, portly men have gathered in Key West to prove their resemblance to legendary author Ernest Hemingway, as they compete in the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest that began Thursday night.
The contest is a highlight of Key West’s annual Hemingway Days festival that celebrates the writing talent, sporting pursuits, and colorful lifestyle of the American literary giant who lived on the island during the 1930s.
Thursday's preliminary round was the first of three nights of competition at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the Duval Street saloon where Hemingway often relaxed with cohorts.
Most look-alike contenders wore sportsman’s attire reminiscent of the author, and attempted to emulate the "Papa" persona of Hemingway’s later years as they swaggered across Sloppy Joe’s stage.
The “aspiring Ernests,” many of them repeat contenders, are judged by previous winners including Floridian Jon Auvil, who earned the title of “Papa” in 2022.
Before Thursday’s preliminary round, the judges staged a “pre-birthday party” — complete with cake — commemorating the 124th anniversary of Hemingway’s July 21 birth.
The contest’s second preliminary round is set for Friday and the 2023 winner will be chosen during Saturday night’s finals.
Hemingway Days continues through Sunday with events including an offbeat "Running of the Bulls," a street fair and a three-day marlin tournament. Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most enduring classics in Key West including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “To Have and Have Not."
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