Get your beard on: Hemingway contest back in Key West after skipping a year due to COVID

Hemingway look alike contest returning to Key West after being canceled due to COVID-19
Hemingway look alike contest returning to Key West after being canceled due to COVID-19

KEY WEST, Fla. – After canceling the event last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the annual Hemingway Look-Alike Contest is back in Key West this summer.

The contest is scheduled for July 22 through 24 with a reduced entry field, organizer Donna Edwards said Friday. Hosted at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where it began some 40 years ago, preliminary rounds on July 22 and 23 will feature 35 contestants each night, about half the number that usually enter, Edwards said. The final round on July 24 will have about 24 finalists.

“We want to make sure that we’re able to put on a great show and a safe show,” Edwards said, who added that in the past they had upwards of 85 contestants each night of the preliminaries.

[RELATED: Think you look like Papa? Click here for the entry form, which will be available starting May 19.]

Past winners of the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike contest in Key West. (WPLG)

The bar also plans to stage its “Running of the Bulls,” a spoof event featuring a parade of Ernest Hemingway look-alikes, some riding fake bulls on wheels. The event is planned for the early afternoon July 24 on Key West’s Duval Street.

The look-alike contest is a cornerstone event of the annual Hemingway Days Festival, staged this year around the commemoration of the 122nd anniversary of the author’s July 21 birthday.

Other events include the Key West Marlin Tournament, a Hemingway museum exhibit of rare memorabilia, literary readings, a 5k run and paddleboard race, a street fair and the announcement of the winner of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.

Hemingway lived in Key West throughout most of the 1930s, and it was there that he wrote such classics as “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “To Have and Have Not.”

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