The bearded brotherhood of Hemingway Look-Alike Contest winners gained a new member July 25 in Key West, home of legendary author Ernest Hemingway for most of the 1930s. Zach Taylor, a 63-year-old white-bearded Georgia man, triumphed over 136 other entrants to win the contest that highlights the island city’s annual Hemingway Days celebration.
Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West for most of the 1930s, and the annual Hemingway Days celebrates his talent and exuberant lifestyle. Events include poetry readings, a walking tour of Hemingway sites, a museum exhibit, a scholar’s presentation and the first reading of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story competition’s winning entry.
Islamorada, heralded for its angling diversity, features the Florida Keys' largest fleet of offshore charter and shallow-water “backcountry” boats. The area also offers eco-tours, reef diving and snorkeling, watersports such as stand-up paddling and kiteboarding, tennis facilities, bicycle trails, historic hikes, enticing galleries and beautiful vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay.
Don’t miss Key West’s eagerly anticipated “Pride Follies,” scheduled May 22 at the Key West Theater. The production's format is similar to an old-fashioned vaudeville-type show, with a wide array of local talent to entertain audiences. Acts are likely to range from vocals to dancing programs — and maybe even a saucy burlesque performance.
Internationally renowned playwright Tennessee Williams lived in Key West for more than 30 years, writing classic dramas including “Night of the Iguana.” Today, fans of his groundbreaking plays can honor his legacy and love for his island lifestyle during the annual Tennessee Williams Birthday Celebration conceived by longtime Key West resident Dennis Beaver.
The Florida Keys & Key West, long recognized for supporting artistic, literary and creative endeavors, are known throughout the world as a vibrant cultural destination. Visitors can experience life like a local through Keys cultural arts, influenced by warm subtropical breezes, storied architectural history and colorful scenery on islands surrounded by azure waters.
The Key West Art Center, whose origins date back to the 1930s, is renowned as the oldest artists’ membership organization in the Florida Keys. Its picturesque Front Street gallery features the work of more than 50 artists from the Keys, with a visual tapestry of color and creativity awaiting everyone who ventures inside.
Florida Keys artist Dan Davis, owner of the online Florida Keys Ocean Gallery, uses the ancient Japanese art of gyotaku to create prints from fish he catches in Keys waters. He also educates art lovers about the need to preserve local waters that are home to a vast array of prized game fish.
Ever since Ernest Hemingway penned literary classics while living in 1930s Key West, the island has been a haven and an inspiration for writers. Now Key West visitors can boost their own creativity with a chance to write in the iconic author’s private studio — and explore his former Whitehead Street home and grounds.
As temperatures plunge in much of the United States, many people are seeking a place to avoid winter’s chill and continue to enjoy outdoor experiences. In Key West, the southernmost spot in the continental U.S., activities abound that enable participants to soak up salt air, balmy breezes and the island’s irresistibly laid-back vibe.