KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Some came in wool fisherman’s sweaters, and other contestants had sportsmen’s attire. But it was the cream-colored sweater of attorney Jon Auvil that caught the eye of judges who awarded him the title for most resembling author and former Key West resident Ernest Hemingway.
Auvil triumphed Saturday night over 124 other contestants for the title in the annual Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the Key West establishment where the author was a regular patron during his decade-long residence on the island in the 1930s.
“I think I feel most like Hemingway because of his relationship with his friends, his wife and his children,” said Auvil just after his victory. “I feel very, very rich right now.”
Crowds of spectators cheered enthusiastically for their favorites as they paraded onstage at the bar and took turns speaking. Most entrants tried to emulate the author in his later-years “Papa” persona, with full beards, rugged demeanors and sportsman’s attire.
Some performed song parodies pleading to be named the 2022 winner. One finalist even accompanied himself on a harmonica.
As well as appearance, Auvil said he shared other traits with Ernest Hemingway including a love of fishing. He has also tried his hand at writing fiction and a bit of nonfiction.
The look-a-like contest is a highlight of Key West’s annual Hemingway Days celebration, which ended Sunday.
Auvil said he shares Hemingway’s passion for fishing, has written some fiction and would like to do more writing.
“Every man wants to write like Hemingway,” said Auvil, who lives in Dade City, Florida, northeast of Tampa.
“He represents a lot — romance, masculinity, sports, love of the sea, love of a woman, love of children … life.”
While living in Key West, Hemingway wrote classics, including “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “To Have and Have Not.”
Festival events included an offbeat “Running of the Bulls,” the three-day Key West Marlin Tournament and the conclusion of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition directed by Ernest’s author granddaughter.