KEY WEST, Florida Keys — During the year marking the 75th publication anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's novel "To Have and Have Not," scores of stocky bearded men should see if they "have" what it takes to win Sloppy Joe's "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest.
Approximately 125 entrants are expected to compete in the look-alike challenge at Key West's Sloppy Joe's Bar, 201 Duval St., frequented by Hemingway when he lived and wrote on the subtropical island throughout the 1930s.
Among entrants is the top finisher in a Virtual "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, during which photographic entries were accepted on the Florida Keys' Facebook page. The winner received a trip to Key West to compete in a preliminary round of Sloppy Joe's 2012 contest.
A highlight of the Hemingway Days festival now through July 22, the real contest features preliminary rounds at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 19 and 20. The newest "Papa" is to be chosen during a final round beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21 — the 113th anniversary of Hemingway's birth.
Entrants from around the United States and other countries typically compete in the quirky contest, dressing in safari togs, wool fisherman's turtlenecks and other garb associated with the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner's "Papa" persona. Whether first-timers or repeat contenders, they are judged by a panel of past contest winners.
There's also an offbeat "Running of the Bulls," a lighthearted salute to the annual event in Pamplona, Spain. The fun begins at noon Saturday, July 21, with photo opportunities with "Papas" outside Sloppy Joe's. At 1 p.m. they stage the popular sporting spoof, promenading alongside fake bulls on wheels, and later host a "birthday party" for Ernest complete with cake.
In addition, many "Papas" show their strength in Sloppy Joe's annual arm-wrestling challenge, which begins with an 11 a.m. registration Sunday, July 22.
Other look-alike events include the presentation of scholarships to Florida Keys students. The scholarship program is funded primarily by contributions from "Papas" and their supporters.
Some of the semi-finalists of the 2011 "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest including, from left, Arnie Inge-Mathisen, Bear Hoochuck, Greg Fawcett, Charlie Boice, Ed Lindoo and Frank Long show their to looks to the audience during the first of two preliminary rounds at Sloppy Joe's Bar in Key West. Photos by Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)
Previous winners of the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, including Fred Johnson, front left, and Denny Woods, front right, intently watch the 2010 finalists.