Hemingway Wins Hemingway Look-Alike Contest

Dave Hemingway (no relation) Took Home Top “Papa” Honors in Florida

The Crowning Moment

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway: the greatest event America has to offer during the month of July is the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest in Key West, Florida. Running for an incredible 36 years, the contest — which looks more like a festival — takes place over the final three days of the island’s annual “Hemingway Days,” and it is set up by the Hemingway Look-Alike Society (HLAS). If you’re thinking what I first thought, there is no need to fret, the society’s “about” page quickly dispels your worries: “The Hemingway Look-Alike Society is much more than a bunch of ‘portly gray bearded old men.’”

With that being said, “a bunch of portly gray bearded old men” did indeed compete for the grand prize, and, according to The Guardian, for the first time in the contest’s history a man named Hemingway came out on top. Dave Hemingway of Macon, North Carolina and who is of no relation to the author, finally lifted the triumphant bust of “Papa” Hemingway after seven previous appearances in the contest. According to the man himself, what put him over the top this time was the choice of an authentically Hemingway-esque wool, cream-colored turtleneck.

“Even though this sweater is really hot, it was part of my strategy…And I think it worked out really well.” Though, Hemingway was quick to add that he shares traits aside from physical likeness with the illustriously rambunctious author: “I like women. I like having a good time. I do feel like Ernest because I’m in the town he lived in so many years.”

I wonder what the author would think of such an event: his favorite island annually populated by varyingly believable doppelgangers for a sweltering weekend in July. Who knows — but it certainly sounds more like science fiction than a Nick Adams story.

The annual contest is hosted at Sloppy Joe’s, one of the author’s favorite bars in the area.

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