One of our favorite festivals is just around the corner. Starting July 20 and running through July 25, it’s Hemingway Days, Key West’s annual celebration of all things Ernest Hemingway. It’s one of the island’s most popular festivals (besides Fantasy Fest, of course). That said, Hemingway Days is an unforgettable experience - and one that’s very Key West. Here are five things to do during Hemingway Days 2021.
1. Have a Daiquiri at Sloppy Joe’s - and another at Captain Tony’s
Hemingway wasn’t shy about his love of drinking. The writer loved his daiquiris, Cuban-style, with rum and lime, although he always added grapefruit and maraschino liqueur. With Hemingway as your excuse, order one at Sloppy Joe’s, his go-to bar during his time in Key West. Then head next door to Captain Tony’s Saloon, the original spot of Hemingway’s favorite Key West bar, and order another.
2. Witness the Running of the Bulls down Duval
Hemingway was fascinated by the bullfights in Pamplona, Spain. Scenes in his novels mentioned them - and Death in the Afternoon even made them the focus. All of this is why Hemingway Days’ Running of the Bulls is such a highlight of the festival. It’s done in remembrance of Hemingway, but in true Conch style, complete with red and white Pamplona garb and manmade bulls on wheels. Join others and Hemingway look-alikes outside Sloppy Joe’s on July 24 at 1 p.m. to watch the show.
3. Brush up on Your Hemingway History at the Key West Art & Historical Society
Hemingway Days isn’t all parties and debauchery, there are actually some pretty interesting literary events being put on by the Key West Art & Historical Society. Events include the Custom House Museum’s art exhibition “Depicting Hemingway,” a series of ink sketches by Guy Harvey that serve as the visual accompaniment to The Old Man and the Sea, and a twilight walking tour of Hemingway’s Key West by Hemingway scholar and author Dr. Ashley Oliphant and well-known artist Beth Yarbrough.
There are many more events at the KWAHS (including free museum days at Custom House Museum, the announcement of the winner of the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, and a special virtual presentation titled “Key West to Bimini: Hemingway’s Big-Game Fishing Evolution”) so be sure to check the website.
4. Visit the Hemingway Home & Museum
A trip to Hemingway Days wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Hemingway Home & Museum on Whitehead Street. The French Colonial building in Old Town was home to the writer from 1931-1939 - although the descendants of his six-toed cat, Snow White, still inhabit the grounds.
5. Go Fishing
Hemingway was an avid angler. Whether he was off the coast of Key West or on his way to Cuba, Hemingway spent much time fishing in his beloved fishing boat, Pilar. Channel your inner Hemingway this July with a fishing trip of your own, or by entering the Key West Marlin Tournament being held from July 21 to 24. If competition isn’t your thing, we have a whole list of fishing spots in the Keys for a little “me time.”
There’s only one way to experience Hemingway Days, and that’s in person. When you book your stay with 24 North Hotel, enjoy modern rooms, a large pool, restaurant & bar, Starbucks, and hourly shuttle service to and from Old Town. Plus, if you want some peace and quiet during your downtime, we're in just the right spot. Read about special offers at 24 North Hotel.