Dozens of stocky, bearded men resembling Ernest Hemingway are to return to Key West for the 2021 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, after the global coronavirus pandemic preempted the 2020 competition.
Organizers announced recently that this summer’s contest is scheduled July 22-24 at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where it began some 40 years ago.
Preliminary rounds are slated for Thursday and Friday, July 22-23, with a reduced entry field of 35 contestants each night. The winner will be chosen Saturday, July 24, from about 24 finalists.
“In (the) past we’ve had upwards of 85 contestants in our preliminary rounds, meaning 85 on Thursday, 85 on Friday,” said Donna Edwards, the competition’s organizer. “We’re limiting the number of contestants at this time; we want to make sure that we’re able to put on a great show and a safe show.”
According to Edwards, the “Running of the Bulls,” an offbeat promenade of look-alikes with fake bulls, will be staged the afternoon of July 24 on Duval Street.
The Look-Alike Contest is a highlight of Hemingway Days, an annual salute to the literary legend who lived and wrote on the island for most of the 1930s.
The 2021 festival, set for July 20-25, is to feature other events including a three-day marlin tournament, a commemoration of the 122nd anniversary of the author’s July 21 birth, a museum exhibit of rare Hemingway memorabilia, literary readings and presentations, a street fair, a 5K run and paddleboard race, and the announcement of the winner of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition.
Among the classics Hemingway wrote during his Key West years are “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “To Have and Have Not.”