Ernest Hemingway wasn’t just an American icon, he was a Key West icon. The famed literary giant spent much of his time here, living in the Spanish colonial on Whitehead, and penning some of his most successful novels, like A Farewell to Arms and Death in the Afternoon. And every July it’s Key West tradition to celebrate Hemingway, commemorating his birthday with the week-long festival Hemingway Days. Hemingway Days is a culmination of all things Papa, from cultural events, fishing tournaments, and of course, parties. And if you’re visiting Key West from July 18 to 23, 2017, it’s an especially fun way brush up on your Hemingway knowledge and see the island at the same time. Here are the events you can’t miss at Hemingway Days 2017:
Considering that Papa Hemingway was an avid angler, it’s only right that the annual Key West Marlin Tournament is held during Hemingway Days. The tournament is three days of fishing, with weigh-ins and cocktail parties held each afternoon at Dante’s Key West Pool Bar & Restaurant. First-prize winners take home $25,000 in cash.
Hemingway history buffs and culture junkies, this is an event you don’t want to miss. The KWAHS Hemingway Symposium provides expert insight from Hemingway biographers and archivists, such as Robert Elder, author of Hidden Hemingway: Inside the Ernest Hemingway Archives of Oak Park, and Brewster Chamberlin, of Facts and Fiction in the Hemingway Industry. Admission is $5 for KWAHS members and $10 for non-members.
One of the most eye-catching events of Hemingway Days, the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest is hosted by none-other than Sloppy Joe’s, Papa’s go-to bar during his days in Key West. Hundreds (yes, hundreds) of Papa look-alikes come from all over the world to compete. Frankly, it’s quite surprising to see just how many Hemingway doppelgangers exist. Come see for yourself. The final round happens on Saturday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m.
This is one of our favorites. Every year the Papa look-alikes from years past return to Key West for the “Running of the Bulls” on Duval Street, Yet this isn’t an ordinary running of the bulls, this is a running of the bulls, Key West style. Think hundreds of Hemingways, all dressed in their Pamplona red and white, steering plastic bulls on wheels down Duval. It’s definitely a sight to see. Grab a daiquiri and join in on the fun.
Hosted by the Key West Art & Historical Society, this gala celebrates the fun-loving side of Hemingway, aka his love of a good cocktail. Held at the Hemingway Home & Museum, this soiree starts off with a presentation by Philip Greene, a Hemingway scholar and author of To Have and Have Another, a Hemingway Cocktail Companion, and is followed by hors d'oeuvre and cocktails in the spirit of the great writer. Afterward you can take a look around the house. For more information, visit the event page here.
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