KEY WEST, Florida – The 40th annual Ernest Hemingway lookalike contest opened Thursday night at an iconic Key West bar frequented by the author, marking the return of a contest canceled last year in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 70 stocky, bearded men resembling the late writer took part in the first of two preliminary rounds at Sloppy Joe’s Bar. The second preliminary round of the competition was set for Friday and the 2021 winner will be chosen on Saturday evening.
The three-night contest is the cornerstone of the island’s Hemingway Days festival, organized around the literary legend’s birthday on July 21 to salute his writing skills, heritage and adventurous life. Hemingway lived and wrote on the subtropical island for most of the 1930s.
Thursday night attendees marched onto the Sloppy Joe stage in front of a jury of past winners, including Joe Maxey, a retired banker from Tennessee who won the last contest, held in 2019.
Late Wednesday, a woman from Somerville, Massachusetts was named the winner of the Lorian Hemingway short story contest. Madison Bakalar’s “So This Is How We Go” has beaten 784 other US and international entries.
Lorian Hemingway, the granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway and founder of the literary competition, said Bakalar’s story impressed judges for his ability to combine universally human emotions about the loss with gallows humor. refined.
The Hemingway Days continues through Sunday with events such as an offbeat “Running of the Bulls” parody, a literary walking tour and the Key West Marlin tournament.
While living in Key West, Hemingway wrote classics such as “For Whom the Bell Ringing” and “To Have and Not to Have”.