Gerrit Marshall Crowned 2023 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest Winner in Key West

In an annual tradition marking the Hemingway Days festival in Key West, Florida, white-bearded Gerrit Marshall from Madison, Wisconsin, emerged as the winner of the 2023 Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. This unique contest is a prominent event, forming part of the celebratory activities for the revered novelist, Ernest Hemingway.

  • Marshall, a retired television broadcast engineer, secured his victory on the day he turned 68. This occasion was also just a day after what would have been the 124th birthday of Ernest Hemingway.
  • Competing against nearly 140 other hopefuls, Marshall triumphed in the contest's final round, which took place on Saturday at the historic Sloppy Joe's Bar.

The preliminary rounds were held on Thursday and Friday, attracting a host of participants who donned the rugged 'Papa' persona that Hemingway was known for in his later years. In the bustling atmosphere of Sloppy Joe's on Saturday night, the audience animatedly cheered and held up signs as their favored 'aspiring Ernests' took the stage to be assessed by past contest winners. Many contestants showcased their musical skills as a part of their performance, hoping to sway the judges with their singing and harmonica playing.

It was Marshall's 11th attempt at winning the contest, a testament to his persistence and passion for Hemingway. He stated that, like Hemingway, he has a fondness for the outdoors and writing. However, he humorously distanced himself from Hemingway's turbulent love life, saying he does not envy the late author's four marriages and is content with his one wife.

  • Hemingway Days is an annual celebration that pays tribute to the adventurous lifestyle and literary genius of the Nobel Prize-winning author. Hemingway resided and penned his works in Key West for nearly a decade.
  • When asked about his thoughts on Hemingway and the festival, Marshall said, "It is exhilarating to know that Hemingway was here, and to walk in his footsteps. I think if he was here today, he would be totally amazed."

During Hemingway's time in Key West, he authored several of his most notable works such as "To Have and Have Not", "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", and "For Whom the Bell Tolls". Through this festival, the city continues to celebrate and keep alive Hemingway's remarkable legacy.