Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Key West
Papas' 34th annual 'Running of the Bulls'

Dozens of men with large white beards and matching red berets gathered Saturday outside of Sloppy Joe's bar on Greene Street for the 34th Hemingway Days "Running of the Bulls."

The widely anticipated event is zanier than the typical festival fare. The annual "Running of the Bulls" features wooden life-size bulls on wheels that are pulled down the street by Hemingway look-alikes.

A large crowd shuffled around in the afternoon heat before the event started to drink and socialize with the contestants of the Hemingway Look-Alike contest. The "Papa Hemingways," who were gathered in a small corral set up in the middle of street, took pictures with fans atop the fake bulls.

Led by bullrider and auction winner "Papa" David Douglas, the look-alikes took off down Greene Street shortly after 1 p.m. Douglas won the scholarship auction, beating out a half-dozen people to pay $950 for the honor of riding on the lead bull. The proceeds from the auction went to the Hemingway Look-Alike Society scholarship fund, which is available to Florida Keys students who show a talent and passion for writing.

"I'm always the best," Douglas said jokingly. "But really, it's an honor to give to such a great cause."

A mixed crowd of locals and tourists cheered and yelled as the bulls paraded down Green Street.

Elisabeth Wagner, from Waco, Texas, cheered from the sidewalk with her fiancé, Brad Landis.

Landis said that he read Hemingway in college, but never thought he would be surrounded by dozens of look-alikes.

"We're just visiting, and our hotel concierge told us that Hemingway Days were going on," Wagner said. "I do like this 'Running of the Bulls' better though. The only way to get hurt is if you trip and fall. There's no goring going on around here."

The traditional "Running of the Bulls" originated in northeastern Spain during the early 14th century. The most famous bull run happens in Pamplona, Spain, at the beginning of July.

A group of bulls and steers, usually 12, is set loose along a sectioned off maze of city streets. Runners then take part in a run for their lives, outrunning the bulls at the risk of being trampled or gored to death.

The bull run in Pamplona was depicted famously by Hemingway in "Death in the Afternoon" and "The Sun Also Rises." The literary fame is what brought the tradition to the streets of Key West.

The "Running of the Bulls" was just one of the many events of the Hemingway Days celebration, including the celebration of Hemingway's 115th birthday.


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