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Papa Was a Rolling Stone

Hemingway Days are here again — that special time of year when the Conch Republic returns to its roots, as personified by its most famous resident: Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, the legendary American author, outdoorsman, and alcoholic. Though Papa took his own life nearly 50 years ago (via shotgun — and you thought Kurt Cobain was original), the spirit of expatriatism and escapism thrives in Key West, despite its semi-gentrification. The annual weeklong celebration of Hemingway’s Key West embraces everything Ernest.

The Hemingway House, where the author penned 70 percent of his work, offers daily guided tours highlighting rare memorabilia and photographs. Thursday is the popular Papa look-alike contest at Sloppy Joe’s, where dozens of Hemingway doppelgangers flood the streets like an army of drunken subtropical Santas. The festival culminates over the weekend with a street party and a raucous celebration of the author’s birthday. But to kick things off with a bang, go “Meet the Papas” — the past winners and current competitors in the look-alike contest — at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort at 5:30 p.m. Wrap up your night with "Voices, Places, Inspirations,” an evening of readings and presentations featuring critically acclaimed author Lorian Hemingway, among others. You can also get drunk at Papa’s favorite watering hole (that’d be Sloppy Joe’s) and pet a six-toed Hemingway cat. For a complete schedule, visit or
Wed., July 16, 2008


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