Area man wins Hemingway look-alike contest

July 26, 2009 8:41:43 AM PDT
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 festival ends Sunday. July 21 was the 110th anniversary of Hemingway's birth.

Judged by a panel of former look-alike winners, 30 prospective "Papas" made Saturday night's contest finals to parade across the stage at Sloppy Joe's. Finalists included Denis Golden of Rockport, Mass., who sang a parody of "Hello, Dolly" onstage with lyrics pleading for victory.

While living in Key West during the 1930s, Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works, including "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "To Have and Have Not" and "Death in the Afternoon."

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