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Hemingway Days

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39th Annual Hemingway Days to Honor Ernest in Key West July 16-21, 2019

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Ernest Hemingway look-alikes, writers, anglers and fans of the late author’s work are to converge on Key West Tuesday through Sunday, July 16-21, 2019, for the annual Hemingway Days celebration. The festival honors the legacy of the American literary giant who lived and wrote on the island for most of the 1930s.

Scores of stocky, bearded men resembling Ernest are to compete in the annual Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St., a frequent hangout for the legendary writer during his Key West years.

Other festival events include prose and poetry readings, the wacky “Running of the Bulls,” symposium presentations on Ernest and his influence, a commemoration of the 120th anniversary of his July 21 birth, a museum exhibit of rare Hemingway memorabilia and a three-day marlin tournament recalling his passion for deep-sea angling.

Ernest Hemingway wrote many of his best-known works in the second-story studio that adjoins his former Key West home — now a museum — at 907 Whitehead St. Among them were “Death in the Afternoon,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Hemingway used Depression-era Key West as the locale for “To Have and Have Not,” his only novel set in the United States.

Both his literary prowess and his exuberant Key West lifestyle are saluted during Hemingway Days.

Hemingway Days Information

Photos from the 2018 Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest and Events

Former winners of the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest

Former winners of the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, including Tom Grizzard, third from right, evaluate 2018 entrants Thursday, July 19, 2018, at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West, Fla. The competition is part of the island city's annual Hemingway Days festival that pays homage to Ernest Hemingway who lived and wrote in Key West in the 1930s.

Running of the Bulls

Ernest Hemingway look-alikes kick off the annual "Running of the Bulls" Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Key West, Fla. Held on the 119th anniversary of Hemingway's birth, the whimsical take-off on the famed run in Pamplona, Spain, was a facet of the island city's annual Hemingway Days festival.

Happy Birthday

Dave Hemingway, left, smears birthday cake on Richard Filip after he and fellow Ernest Hemingway look-alikes sang "Happy Birthday" to the famed American author Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Key West, Fla. Dave Hemingway (no relation to the author) won the 2016 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest and Filip was victorious in 2017.

Michael Groover and Paula Deen

Michael Groover, left, kisses his wife, celebrity chef Paula Deen, right, after competing in the semi-final round of the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe's Bar Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Key West, Fla. On his ninth attempt, Groover won the competition, the highlight event of the island city's annual Hemingway Days festival.

Photos by Andy Newman, Florida Keys News Bureau

For information on how to compete in the Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest, visit sloppyjoes.com.

For high-resolution photos of Hemingway Days for media use, visit media.fla-keys.com.

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