KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Ernest Hemingway fans can celebrate the late author’s literary accomplishments and colorful Key West lifestyle Tuesday through Sunday, July 17-22. The 38th annual Hemingway Days festivities salute the legacy of the Nobel Prize winner who lived and wrote on the island for most of the 1930s.
Events include the famed Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest, prose and poetry readings, the tongue-in-cheek “Running of the Bulls,” symposium presentations and a film evening, a look-alike “party” on Hemingway’s July 21 birthday, running and paddleboarding challenges, a lively street fair and a high-stakes three-day marlin tournament recalling his passion for Florida Keys angling.
The festival begins Tuesday, July 17, with a Hemingway museum exhibit “open house” at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front St.
At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Key West Hemingway Symposium is to feature scholars Kirk Curnutt, Ashley Oliphant and Brewster Chamberlin; Hemingway interpreter and playwright/author Brian Gordon Sinclair; and writer Cristen Hemingway Jaynes, Ernest’s great-granddaughter.
The festival’s other literary offerings include the “Voices, Places, Inspirations” author readings, “Papa’s Poems” presented by the Key West Poetry Guild and an evening spotlighting Sinclair’s “The Hemingway Monologues” film and seven-book series. The latter event also includes the presentation of Canada’s Hemingway on Stage Award.
Those whose resemblance to Ernest is literal rather than literary can compete in Sloppy Joe’s annual Hemingway® Look-Alike Contest. Past winners choose the new “Papa” from 125 or more bearded contestants at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St., a watering hole frequented by the author. Preliminary rounds are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 19 and 20, with the final round Saturday, July 21 — the 119th anniversary of Hemingway’s birth.
The “Papas” also enliven other festival events including Saturday’s infamous “Running of the Bulls.” Set for 1 p.m. outside Sloppy Joe’s with manmade bull replicas, the offbeat event recalls Hemingway’s fascination with the bull ring.
Held in conjunction with the festival is the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition coordinated by Ernest’s granddaughter, author Lorian Hemingway.
Hemingway Days concludes Sunday with Sloppy Joe’s annual arm-wrestling championship and a historian-led trolley tour of Key West sites related to the island’s most famous literary resident.
Event information: hemingwaydays.net
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY