Key West, Florida gets ready for the 37th annual Hemingway Days celebration Tuesday through Sunday, July 18-23. The festival honors the legacy of the American literary giant who lived and wrote on the island for most of the 1930s. It features literary readings, a theatrical premiere, short story competition, fishing tournament, 5K Run, The Running of the Bulls, Paddleboard Race, and Sloppy Joe's Look-Alike Contest and birthday "party" commemorating Ernest's July 21st birthday.
Scores of stocky, bearded men resembling the writer are to compete in Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St., a frequent hangout for him during his Key West years. Preliminary rounds are set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21, with the finals at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
Held in conjunction with the festival is the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition coordinated by Ernest’s granddaughter, author Lorian Hemingway. Other highlights include literary readings at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, at the Key West Woman’s Club, 319 Duval St. Poetry lovers can discover Hemingway’s little-known verse at a Friday evening reading at the island’s 700 Fleming St. library.
Those who share Ernest’s love of angling can compete for $50,000 in cash prizes in the July 19-22 Havana Club Key West Marlin Tournament.
Additional festival events include the 5k Sunset Run/Walk and Paddleboard Race, a DVD premiere of the 2015 performance of “The Hemingway Suite” in Havana, Cuba, a daylong street fair on Key West’s Duval Street and Sloppy Joe’s annual Arm Wrestling Contest.
Hemingway fans also can visit his former Key West home at 907 Whitehead St., now an attraction open for tours. The property will be the site of “To Have and Have Another,” a Sunday evening presentation and soiree hosted by the Key West Art & Historical Society.