Travel Journal

Come Home to Papa: Celebrate Hemingway Days in Key West

Come Home to Papa at the Celebrate Hemingway Days in Key West. If you’re a fan of the writer Ernest Hemingway, you won’t want to miss this annual celebration. It coordinates with Hemingway’s birthday on July 21st.

The whole city comes together to honor this literary icon who wrote 70% of his novels right in Key West. The five day celebration features a variety of activities with a Hemingway “flavor.” It’s one of the most unique literary festivals in North America.


There’s the ever-popular “Hemingway Look-Alike Contest,” sponsored by Sloppy Joe’s. Tanned, beefy men with white beards and a certain swagger all compete for the honor of looking like “Papa” (as Hemingway was affectionately dubbed in his later years).

Attend a reading from Hemingway’s novels, touring his home, and enjoy a cocktail or two.  Join in a 5K or a paddle board race if you feel so inclined. Simply feeling that special Key West Vibe will put you in a Hemingway mood for fun and adventure.

One of the more colorful parts of the celebration is the wacky “running of the bulls.” Hemingway experienced this event when he traveled to Spain. The run with the bulls is a centerpiece of his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. In the Key West version, Hemingway lookalikes they parade wooden replicas of Spanish bulls through the streets of Key West. Talk about a photo opportunity!

This year Celebrate Hemingway Days in Key West takes place from July 18th-23rd.

Come Home to Papa Celebrate Hemingway Days in Key West, Florida

Come Home to Papa: The Hemingway House

Experience Hemingway up close and personal with a tour of his Key West home. Purchased in the 1930s, it was Hemingway’s  residence during that time. A family of multi-toed cats that make the residence their home is a main attraction. The cats are all directly descended from Hemingway’s original multi-toed cat, given to his son by a Key West fisherman. They lounge in the sun and on Hemingway’s bed and are all named after famous personages. Take a peek at Hemingway’s writing studio which has his original typewriter on display.

For more on the Hemingway home where he lived during the 1930’s, check out the video below:

Articles & Tips, Key West

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