Hemingway Look-Alikes Compete In Key West

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Rsprinted excerpt The Biographile By

Ernest Hemingway was not a small man in any sense of the word. At six-feet tall and 200 pounds, his legacy looms large over the world of twentieth-century literature and over the tiny subtropical island of Key West, Florida, where he lived and wrote and drank and fished in the 1930s.

Pittsburgh resident George D’Angelo is five-foot-four inches tall and weighs in at about 145 pounds, but that’s not stopping him from entering this year’s “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s bar in Key West. The 33rd annual contest is part of the Hemingway Days celebration taking place July 16-21, 2013 in conjunction with Hemingway’s July 21 birthday.

The contest begins with preliminary rounds at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 18 and 19, with the finals at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Previous contest winners, including 2012’s Greg Fawcett of Cornelius, N.C., will judge this year’s gathering of stocky white-bearded men from all over the world.

hHemingway Days events also include readings and book signings, an awards ceremony for a literary competition directed by author and Hemingway granddaughter Lorian Hemingway, a museum exhibit of rare Hemingway memorabilia, a “Running of the Bulls” inspired by the annual event in Pamplona, Spain (but featuring man-made bulls), an arm wrestling contest, and a three-day marlin fishing tournament.

To prepare for his shot at being crowned “Mini Papa” (an unofficial category of D’Angelo’s invention), the retired Air Force fighter pilot and colonel has been going back to Hemingway’s books, including A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway’s war novels resonate with D’Angelo, who flew the F-4 Phantom II fighter-bomber on bombing missions over Vietnam after graduating from Duquesne University in 1965.

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