KEY WEST — A 55-year-old Texan wearing the requisite white beard and sporting a sweater won an Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest — one of the highlights of a six-day annual festival honoring the late Nobel prize-winning author.
Dressed in a wool fisherman's turtleneck sweater despite 90-degree temperatures, David Douglas of Cypress bested 139 other contenders at the "Papa" Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, staged Saturday night at Sloppy Joe's Bar, the author's favorite watering hole.
Douglas' attire emulated Hemingway's appearance in a famous 1957 photograph by Yousuf Karsh.
"It's very possible the sweater did it," said a perspiring Douglas of his victory. "It's about 120 (degrees) inside the sweater, but it's worth it."
Douglas won the competition on his eighth attempt after originally entering on a dare.
The mechanical contractor said he shares Hemingway's fondness for fishing and cocktails, but has no literary aspirations.
"I haven't written any books, but I'm good writing checks and text messaging," Douglas said.
Other Hemingway Days events included literary and theatrical presentations, a marlin tournament and a short story competition coordinated by author and Hemingway granddaughter Lorian Hemingway. The winner of the short story contest was a Michigan high school teacher.
Gregory Loselle of Southgate earned the contest's $1,000 first prize for Lazarus, chosen from 1,057 submissions.
The language arts and art history instructor's story is about a priest who performs a miracle causing him to question his faith.
"It's about unintended consequences, how the miraculous is not always considered good and the question of how you live out your life as the subject of transcendent grace," said author Lorian Hemingway.
Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West throughout the 1930s. The Hemingway Days festival honors his legacy. This year is the 110th anniversary of his July 21 birth.