KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) — White-bearded men are competing in Key West, all trying to find out who looks more like Ernest Hemingway.
The group of about 130 men are contestants in the 34th annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest that began Thursday.
The competition is a highlight of the island’s Hemingway Days festival, honoring the writing talent and colorful lifestyle of the legendary author who lived in Key West from 1931 until late 1939. During that time, Hemingway penned classics including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “To Have and Have Not.”
Look-alike entrants are “ernestly” vying for the coveted title of “Papa” during the three-night competition at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where the author often drank with friends. Many are repeat contenders, including Hank Wielgosz of Melbourne, Fla., who is in Key West for his 22nd attempt.
The competition is judged by former winners who scrutinize contestants as they parade across the Sloppy Joe’s stage, often wearing sportsmen’s garb akin to what the author often wore.
The contest’s second preliminary round is set for Friday evening and the 2014 “Papa” is to be chosen Saturday night.
Hemingway Days continues through Sunday with events including an offbeat “Running of the Bulls,” the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament and a short story competition directed by author and Hemingway granddaughter Lorian Hemingway.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.)
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