July is here and with it brings the annual Hemingway Days celebration which takes place around the famed author’s July 21st birthday. This year the celebration of Key West’s most famous resident, affectionately known as Papa, will be held from July 15 – 20. Even if you are not a Hemingway aficionado, you will enjoy the way Key West celebrates this consummate athlete and adventurer that also happened to be one of the most distinguished authors in modern times.
While Hemingway owned the home on Whitehead Street until his death in 1961 he had not lived here since the 1930’s. But his island antics which included fishing, boxing, drinking, and of sours writing left an indelible mark on the island. Even after all these years we are celebrating this man who was larger than life. Hemingway would be happy!
Below is the daily schedule for Hemingway Days Festival 2014. But you can always ask one of the many Papa Hemingway look-a-likes that will descent upon the island what is happening. You will probably get a few interesting stories out of them as well!
If you cannot make it to the celebration this year, plan on it for next year as it is an annual event. Or, if July does not fall in your vacation time, you can still come down to Key West anytime of year to partake in some deep sea fishing that Papa so loved, visit the Hemingway House and Museum, or hang in at Sloppy Joe’s and Captain Tony’s.
- Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum guided tours. Visit the home where Hemingway lived throughout the 1930s and wrote some of his most enduring classics. 907 Whitehead St. For info and ticket prices, visit hemingwayhome.com.
TUESDAY, JULY 15
- 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “Hemingway in Key West” museum exhibition. Explore Ernest Hemingway’s life in Key West, including fishing adventures, and view rare Hemingway photographs and memorabilia. Custom House Museum, 281 Front St. Mention Hemingway Days upon entering and receive discounted admission. Exhibition continues throughout Hemingway Days and beyond. For info, visit kwahs.org.
- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tennessee Williams in Key West Exhibit. Learn about playwright Tennessee Williams’ longtime residence on the island while exploring his beliefs and legacy. Highlights include personal photographs of Williams at home with his partner and friends, first-edition plays and books, a typewriter he used in Key West and much more. 513 Truman Ave. behind the Key West Business Guild Visitor Center. Free admission; donations accepted. Exhibition continues throughout Hemingway Days and beyond. For info, visit twkw.org.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16
- 4 p.m. Final registration for the Key West Marlin Tournament. Anglers compete for $50,000 in guaranteed cash prizes for targeting marlin, spearfish, dolphin, tuna and wahoo. Conch Republic Seafood Co., 631 Greene St. For info, visit keywestmarlin.com.
- 5:30 p.m. Meet the “Papas.” Get to know the contestants and previous winners of the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. Attractions typically include a cash bar and Hemingway-esque hors d’oeuvres. Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, 4 Charles St. For info, visit smokintunasaloon.com.
- 6-8 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament captains meeting, auction and raffle. Conch Republic Seafood Co.
- 7:30-10 p.m. “Voices, Places, Inspirations.” This evening of readings and presentations features authors Michael Haskins, Steven Hull, Mandy Bolen Miles, Terry Schmida and David Sloan, as well as actor/playwright/author Brian Gordon Sinclair. Presented by Literacy Volunteers of America-Monroe County, the event also includes a “meet the authors” reception. Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, 601 Front St. Free admission; suggested parking in Mallory Square lot. For information, visit hemingwaydays.net.
THURSDAY, JULY 17
- 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament’s first day of fishing. For info, visit keywestmarlin.com.
- 9 a.m. Coffee and Donuts with the “Papas.” Join past Look-Alike Contest winners and current competitors for a lighthearted “coffee break” at Cypress House, a historic inn at 601 Caroline St. Visit cypresshousekw.com.
- 4-6 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament weigh-in. Conch Republic Seafood Co. docks.
- 5 p.m. Key West Poetry Guild: “The Poems of Papa.” The Key West Poetry Guild presents a reading and celebration of Ernest Hemingway’s poems at the Blue Heaven restaurant, a site where the author once refereed neighborhood boxing matches. Blue Heaven, 729 Thomas St. Free admission.
- 6 p.m. Hemingway Look-Alike Society scholarship presentations. The society is to announce the winners of its annual scholarships for Florida Keys students. Onstage at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St. For info, visit sloppyjoes.com.
- 6:15 p.m. Canada’s “Hemingway On Stage” Award Presentation. Brian Gordon Sinclair is to present the “Hemingway On Stage” award for extraordinary dedication to the festival. Onstage at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, 201 Duval St.
- 6:30 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s 34th annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, first preliminary round, to be judged by former contest winners. Sloppy Joe’s Bar. $35 entry fee. Free to watch. For look-alike event info, visit sloppyjoes.com.
- 6:30-8 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament cocktail party. Festivities for anglers include a Key West-style pig roast. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd. Free to tournament participants.
FRIDAY, JULY 18
- 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament’s second day of fishing.
- 1:30 p.m. “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Fish-Off. Cheer your favorites as the “Papas” compete in this dockside catch-and-release challenge using traditional “Cuban yo-yos.” Conch Republic Seafood Co. docks. Free to watch.
- 4-6 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament weigh-in. Conch Republic Seafood Co. docks.
- 6:30-8 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament dockside cocktail party and fish fry. Conch Republic Seafood Co. Free to tournament participants.
- 6:30 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s 34th annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, second preliminary round, to be judged by former contest winners. Sloppy Joe’s Bar. $35 entry fee. Free to watch.
- 8 p.m. Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition winners announcement and reception. This literary highlight takes place at Hemingway’s first Key West residence, Casa Antigua. Events include a presentation on Casa Antigua’s history by owner Tom Oosterhoudt and a reading of the winning short story. 314 Simonton St. Free admission. For info, visit shortstorycompetition.com.
- 8:30-11 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament Party with the Drambuie Team. Enjoy an exuberant island-style gathering for tournament participants at Key West’s popular Durty Harry’s at Rick’s, 202 Duval St.
SATURDAY, JULY 19
- 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament’s third day of fishing.
- Noon to 9 p.m. Caribbean Street Fair presented by Helpline of the Florida Keys. Much of Duval Street is closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into an open-air island market with arts, crafts, jewelry, tropical clothing and food. From noon to 3 p.m., seafood fans are invited to enjoy the inaugural Bubba Cuzzy Shrimp-Off Competition. For info, call 305-292-8445 or visit keyshelpline.org.
- Noon Photos with “Papas.” Hemingway look-alikes provide a photo opportunity for fans. Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s. For info, visit sloppyjoes.com.
- Noon-2 p.m. Key West First Legal Rum tasting. Sample chef-distilled rum from Key West’s only distillery. Donations are suggested to benefit the Hemingway Look-Alike Society scholarship fund. Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s. For more information, visit keywestlegalrum.com.
- 1 p.m. Running of the Bulls. This wacky event is sponsored by Sloppy Joe’s Bar and features past “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest winners dressed in their Pamplona best — and a breed of “bull” found only in Key West. The fun begins and ends on Greene Street outside Sloppy Joe’s. For info, visit sloppyjoes.com.
- 1:30 p.m. Hemingway’s Birthday Party. Proud “Papas” are to celebrate the 115th anniversary of Ernest’s July 21 birth with a pre-birthday cake and other attractions outside Sloppy Joe’s. Visit sloppyjoes.com.
- 3-5 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament weigh-in. Conch Republic Seafood Co. docks.
- 3-7 p.m. Malibu Rum Hemingway 5k Sunset Run and Paddleboard Race registration. Register and pick up race packets for the popular run and paddleboard challenge. Southernmost Hotel, 1319 Duval St. $45 adult entry fee for either race ($50 on race day). For info, visit keywestspecialevents.com.
- 6 p.m. Lazy Dog Paddleboard Race. Competitors follow a 3-mile Atlantic Ocean course that begins and ends at Key West’s Southernmost Beach, 1405 Duval St. on the ocean. For more information and registration, visit keywestspecialevents.com.
- 6:30 p.m. Key West Marlin Tournament awards banquet and silent auction. Cocktails and silent auction are set for 6:30, with the dinner and awards presentations to follow at 7:30. Open to tournament participants and their guests only. Westin Key West Resort, 245 Front St.
- 6:30 p.m. Sloppy Joe’s 34th annual “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, final round, to be judged by former contest winners. Sloppy Joe’s Bar. Free to watch.
- 7:30 p.m. Malibu Rum Hemingway 5k Sunset Run. Racers start at the Southernmost Point in the continental United States at Whitehead and South streets, and proceed through Old Town Key West. An awards party is scheduled after the race poolside at the Southernmost Hotel. For info and registration, visit keywestspecialevents.com.
SUNDAY, JULY 20
- 11 a.m. Sloppy Joe’s Hemingway Days Arm Wrestling Championship. Registration is set for 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. and the contest begins at noon. Prizes await winners in seven weight categories. Sloppy Joe’s Bar. $5 entry fee; free to watch. For info, visit sloppyjoes.com.
To see what else is happening on the island during your visit, check out our Key West Events Calendar to see other upcoming special events. For more information about the fun side of Key West… things to do and see in our island city, go to our Key West Web Site.For more information about Key West or Ernest Hemingway feel free to Email Me! And check out www.gotothekeys.com for lots of island information including how to book a fishing charter!