KEY WEST (CBS4)/Florida Keys News Bureau) – Key West’s most notable resident was honored in a quirky way Thursday; anyone who bares his resemblance had chance to compete to be named “Papa”
Some 140 stocky white-bearded men Ernest Hemingway look-a-likes gathered in Key West to compete in the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest that began Thursday evening.
The competition is a highlight of the island’s annual Hemingway Days festival, honoring the writing talent and colorful lifestyle of the legendary author who lived in Key West throughout the 1930s.
Aspiring Ernests will vie for the coveted title of “Papa” during the three-night competition at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where the author often drank with literary and local friends. Many entrants are repeat contenders, and most wear sportsman’s attire reminiscent of Hemingway as they parade across Sloppy Joe’s stage before crowds of spectators.
The Sloppy Joe’s competition is judged by former winners including 2011’s Matt Gineo, a white-bearded biomedical engineer from Jensen Beach, Fla., who triumphed on his 12th attempt.
The contest’s second preliminary round is set for Friday and the 2012 “Papa” is to be chosen Saturday night.
Hemingway Days continues through Sunday with events including an offbeat “Running of the Bulls,” a marlin tournament and a short story competition directed by author and Hemingway granddaughter Lorian Hemingway.
(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Andy Newman and the Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)