HEMINGWAY LOOK-ALIKE CONTEST
A retired auto dealer beat out 83 other men to win the annual Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike contest in the weeklong Key West Hemingway Days Festival that ended on Sunday.
George Burley, of Tierra Verde, a small town near St Petersburg, proved that persistence pays after four previous unsuccessful tries.
“Maybe it’s because I’m older and the beards a little greyer,” the 57 year old Burley said. “I feel more like him, (Hemingway), than ever before”
Saturday night’s competition included a wedding between contestant Norman Levin of Fort Lauderdale and Paula Shapiro of Baltimore. Just prior to the final round, the couple took to the stage of Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a former Hemingway hangout when he lived and wrote there.
After the loudspeakers blared Frank Sinatra’s “Young at Heart,” Levin, following Hemingway’s one-word-is-better-than-two literary philosophy replied “Yes” rather than “I do” when asked if he would accept the hand of his bride.
They paraded off the stage to a ribald Jimmy Buffett song.
Among the closing events Sunday was the announcement of the winners in the Hemingway Short Story Competition that attracted 984 entries. Andrea King Kelly of Tallahassee won first place with her story “Someplace In Between.”
Last week, James Dickey received the first Conch Republic Prize for Literature awarded to a writer ”whose life’s work reflects the spirit of Key West.” Dickey also participated in the Hemingway Days Writers Workshop and Conference.
Other events, including a sailing regatta, lured almost 8,000 people to Key West, officials said.