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This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Monday, August 06, 2018

Hemingway Days

July 23, 2018


Hemingway Days

I arrived back in Key West just in time to experience the heat of what has been the hottest summer ever recorded in Key West. Nine days in July reached an all-time record high and even more days had the highest low temperature ever, meaning it was freaking hot. But unlike the sleepy times that the island experienced back when I first arrived, summer now is just as busy as many days of the so-called season and crowds and events seem to be held every week.



July is now almost always busy and despite the heat, it was jumping with activity upon my return and I got right back in to the flow of island life by heading out to watch the annual Hemingway Days Papa Lookalike contest and running of the bulls at Sloppy Joe’s.  This is an event that draws literally hundreds of men who look like the iconic Key West author Ernest Hemingway.

This year marked the 38th straight year of the contest which is the highlight of a week-long Hemingway Days celebration that marks the birthday of Hemingway and celebrates his connection to Key West. There is actually a Hemingway lookalike society with hundreds of members who gather in Key West each year in a fun competition that also raises a ton of money for Key West charities. I have not been to the actual events in years, though it is hard not to spot the Hemingway lookalikes each July as they flood the island.



As part of the festivities, each year there is a parade of all the entrants from Sloppy Joe’s around the block and down Duval Street where a photo op is held with them all in front of the famous bar. I was right in the mix this year, watching and following the parade and being on hand for the cutting of the Hemingway Birthday cake.

It was wickedly hot, but still a fun time watching all the Hemingways parade around the block, some riding makeshift bulls. A large crowd gathers along the parade route to watch the fun which is held in the afternoon before the finals of the contest. Once again this year, my friend Landon served as master of ceremonies for the contest, which is held over three nights at Sloppy’s in a highly competitive yet good-natured contest.


The Hemingway Days festival was not the only thing going on in Key West this week, the annual Mango Festival was held in Bayview Park. I had never attended this one, but it was fantastic. A celebration of all things Mango, the fest featured all manner of vendors selling fruits and vegetables, as well as all manner of food and drinks made with delicious Key West Mangoes. Mango smoothies, mango beer from the Waterfront Brewery, mango ice cream and more. As well as many cool non-profit vendors, artisans selling their crafts and more. There was food and entertainment and it was a really well done and well organized little festival.



With local elections coming up next month, a number of political candidates were on hand at Mango Fest to meet and greet the crowd, but I got an even more close up look at all the candidates for all local offices at the Hometown event held at The Studios of Key West.



I served for years on the board of directors of Hometown (Formerly Hometown PAC), the local political committee that organizes events such as the Call for Candidates, Meet the Candidates and Candidate Forums where political principles are discussed and debated. This event featured the local elections including the eight candidates looking to replace Key West Mayor Craig Cates who has termed out. I resigned from the board, but still attend every event to take photos for the group.

Media Panel



The event is always entertaining as there is nothing quite like local Key West politics. One candidate even took a phone call from God during this event. Kathy and I are split on our choices for Mayor, but we both agree that there are a number of qualified candidates running, many who are our friends. Whoever you support and wherever you live, I will only encourage you to get out and vote in this and every election.  Educate yourself on the candidates and their positions and make an educated choice. The next election in Key West is on August 28th.




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