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KEY WEST (CBSMiami) — A man actually named Hemingway has won the annual Ernest “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, a highlight of the subtropical island’s annual Hemingway Days festival that ends Sunday.
Silver-bearded Dave Hemingway, 65, said he’s not related to the famous author, but that it was his turn to win after his seventh attempt. The winner lives in Macon, N.C., 60 miles north of Raleigh, and owns a company that installs automatic teller machines at banks.
“I think it’s about time that Hemingway won a Hemingway look-alike contest,” said Dave Hemingway, who beat out 139 other “Papa” entrants who were judged by previous winners during two preliminary rounds and Saturday evening’s finals.
The contest was staged at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where the author often drank when he lived in Key West in the 1930s.
Dave Hemingway shares several traits with the famed author, although the North Carolina man does not write.
“I do feel like Ernest because I’m in the same town that he lived in for so many years,” he said. “I like to fish, I like to drink a little bit, I like women and I just like having a good fun time.”
Crowds of spirited spectators waved signs, cheered and rocked the house with dancing and applause when contestants parodied Hemingway. Some hopefuls wore wool turtleneck sweaters favored by the author.
“Even though this sweater is really hot, it was part of my strategy to win this year and I think it worked well,” Dave Hemingway said.
Finalists included six-time competitor Michael Groover of Savannah, Ga., whose wife is celebrity chef Paula Deen. Deen cheered on her husband from the audience at Sloppy Joe’s.
Hemingway wrote several famous works while living in a Key West Spanish colonial home including “To Have and Have Not,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
The six-day celebration of Hemingway Days included an offbeat “Running of the Bulls,” literary readings, the Bacardi Oakheart Key West Marlin Tournament and a July 21 “birthday” commemoration of the 117th anniversary of “Papa’s” birth.
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