No Direction Home

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!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

“When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.” – Ernest Hemingway

July 23, 2019




When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.” – Ernest Hemingway

I am not so certain what Ernest Hemingway might have thought about the annual Key West Festival that is held in his honor each year, would he consider it as something fun? I guess that doesn’t really matter all that much as thousands who come to Key West each July to participate in the festivities obviously find it fun enough. This year marks the 39th year that Hemingway Days Has been celebrated in Key West to remember and honor the famous writer who called Key West home during his most prolific period in the 1930s.


The celebration is hi-lighted by the annual Ernest Hemingway look-a-like competition sponsored and held at Sloppy Joe’s bar where literally hundreds of stocky, white haired and bearded men compete for the coveted annual title of the best Papa Hemingway look-a-like. The weekend long competition is just one of the many Hemingway inspired events that include readings, presentations, a street fair, a 5k and paddleboard race, a fishing tournament and a celebration of what would have been his 120th birthday on July 20th as well as the famous, “Running of the Bulls” featuring all of the look-a-like contestant.

Ernest Hemingway wrote many of his best-known works in the second-story studio that adjoins his former Key West home — now a museum — at 907 Whitehead St. Among them were “Death in the Afternoon,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Hemingway used Depression-era Key West as the locale for “To Have and Have Not,” his only novel set in the United States.

Larry and Steve

Once again this year, I headed down to Duval Street to watch the Running of the Bulls event, check out the street fair and watch the birthday celebration that followed. Thousands lined Duval Street to watch the short parade around the block of the Hemingway contestants, many of who were riding fake bulls, carrying flags and banners and basically whopping it up to cap off the week-long festival.

As it generally is during July, it was as hot as blazes out, but that did not do a thing to dampen the spirits and enthusiasm of either the Hemingway doppelgangers, their fans and the public who turned out to enjoy the festivities. Kathy opted to stay home in the comfort of the A/C but I once again ventured out with my camera to watch all the fun.

And speaking of fun, this week I was also asked by the Key West Wildlife Center if I would be willing to take photos for them of a new fundraising event that was being held on their behalf at the Studios of Key West. A concert by local heavy metal band Parrothead Massacre where all the proceeds were going to benefit the Wildlife Center.

Kathy and I are frequent visitors to the Wildlife Center as they always take in the chickens that we catch in our yard and over the past few years, we have managed to catch over 150 chickens in the yard, including five just this week. The Wildlife Center takes them in and gives them homes until farmers, usually from Central Florida come and claim them. Apparently Key West chickens are a hearty stock and do very well in the heat of Central Florida.

The concert was a ton of fun, it featured two opening acts, a solo metal singer and then a performance by local favorites The Muriels, before the headliners took the stage. I was not sure what to expect, but Parrothead Massacre did a better than credible job covering heavy metal songs from the likes of Guns n Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, the Beastie Boys and more. They even covered the Michael Jackson song, “Beat It” and it was all a ton of fun that saw the crowd really get into it, dancing and singing along to the band. I think they raised close to $2,500.00 for the Wildlife Center which is a fantastic amount for a small event during the off-season.