Hey any of you guys think you look like Papa Hemingway? Then you might want to have some fun with it and plan a July trip to the Florida Keys where roughly 125 stocky, bearded men will gather mid-month.
Contestants will dress in a cream-colored wool fisherman’s sweater at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St.–a watering hole frequented by Ernest Hemingway when he lived and wrote in Key West throughout the 1930s.
The contest runs July 20-25 with preliminary rounds set for 6:30 PM Thursday and Friday, July 22 and 23, and the newest “Papa” is to be chosen during a final round beginning at 6:30 PM. Saturday, July 24.
The quirky, annual competition attracts entrants from far away as Australia and Kazakhstan. Many safari togs, wool fisherman’s turtlenecks and other garb associated with the Pulitzer and Nobel winner’s “Papa” persona. Some are long time repeat contenders, and all must prove their resemblance to a judging panel of past contest winners.
Judges are to include 2009 winner David Douglas, a mechanical contractor from Cypress, Texas, who triumphed over 145 other candidates while dressed in a wool fisherman’s turtleneck sweater despite 90-degree heat. His attire emulated Ernest Hemingway’s appearance in a famous 1957 photograph by Yousuf Karsh.
“It’s very possible the sweater did it,” said a perspiring Douglas after the victory, earned on his eighth attempt. “It’s about 120 [degrees] inside the sweater, but it’s worth it.”
Douglas said he shared Hemingway’s fondness for fishing and cocktails, but limited his writing to checks and text messages.
In addition to the contest, look-alikes are to take part in a variety of other Hemingway Days events. Among them is an evening welcome party set for Wednesday, July 21, at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd.
Aspiring Ernests are to prove that their affinity for the author is “no bull” during Sloppy Joe’s “Running of the Bulls,” a light hearted salute to the famed annual run in Pamplona, Spain. Though it features man made pseudo-steers instead of the real thing, the sporting spoof typically draws large and enthusiastic crowds. The event is slated for 1 PM on Saturday, July 24, outside Sloppy Joe’s.
The look-alikes also plan to present a number of scholarships to Florida Keys students during the festival. Established in 2000, the scholarship program is funded primarily by contributions from “Papas” and their supporters.
For information about Sloppy Joe’s “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest and other look-alike events, visit www.sloppyjoes.com . For more Hemingway Days information, visit www.hemingwaydays.net .
For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539), or visit the Keys Web site at www.fla-keys.com.