KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The legacy of Pulitzer Prize–winning author Ernest Hemingway, who lived and wrote in Key West throughout the 1930s, is to be celebrated Tuesday through Sunday, July 20-25, during the island’s 30th annual Hemingway Days.
Festival standouts include a look-alike contest for Hemingway imitators, a leading American short story competition directed by Ernest’s author granddaughter, a one-man play exploring Hemingway’s adventures and a three-day marlin tournament recalling his passion for deep-sea angling.
More than 125 burly, bearded contestants are expected to compete in the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, to be held at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St. Preliminary rounds are set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 22 and 23, with finalists facing off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 24.
Sloppy Joe’s also spotlights the bearded brotherhood in the annual “Running of the Bulls,” a quirky take-off on Pamplona’s famous run, outside the bar at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 24.
Before the bull bash, at noon look-alikes will be on hand for “Photos with Papa.” Afterwards, they plan to serve a birthday cake in a slightly belated celebration of Ernest’s July 21 birthday.
Visit www.sloppyjoes.com for contest registration and additional information.
The festival’s foremost literary event is the announcement of the winners of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, which awards $2,000 annually to emerging fiction writers.
Author Lorian Hemingway, whose books include the critically acclaimed memoir “Walk on Water,” is to introduce the first-place story at an 8 p.m. reception Friday, July 23. The awards gala traditionally takes place at Casa Antigua, 314 Simonton St., where Ernest Hemingway stayed in 1928 during his first visit to Key West.
For contest information, visit www.shortstorycompetition.com.
Theater fans can get new insights into Ernest during a “Hemingway on Stage” one-man play by actor and playwright Brian Gordon Sinclair. Based on his extensive research into Hemingway’s life, Sinclair’s performance is to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 22, at the Red Barn Theatre, 319 Duval St. A second show is set for 11:30 a.m. Friday in honor of Sloppy Joe’s late manager emeritus Jean Klausing.
The festival’s other literary highlights include “Voices, Places, Inspirations,” writers’ readings and presentations scheduled at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, at Wyland Galleries, 623 Duval St.
Anglers can emulate “Papa’s” devotion to deep-sea fishing during the Key West Marlin Tournament, set for Wednesday through Saturday, July 21-24. Participating anglers can pursue marlin, tuna, dolphin fish and wahoo while competing for $50,000 in guaranteed cash prizes.
Among the social events for tournament registrants are an island-style pig roast, dockside fish fry and awards banquet.
For information and registration, visit www.keywestmarlin.com.
Other festival fun includes Saturday’s Hemingway Days Caribbean Street Fair on Duval Street and Saturday night’s 5k sunset run through Old Town Key West.
Sunday’s schedule features a sidewalk art show outside the legendary Green Parrot Bar and Sloppy Joe’s Arm Wrestling Contest, an annual favorite.
Attendees also can view an exhibition of rare Hemingway memorabilia at the Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front St., and tour “Papa’s” former Key West home, now the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, 907 Whitehead St.
Additional festival information is available at www.hemingwaydays.net.
For lodging information in Key West, contact the Key West Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-LAST-KEY (800-527-8539) or visit www.fla-keys.com.