Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, August 2, 2010

An Icon in a Tropical Paradise--A Hometown Hero

Look-Alikes Gather with Bulls 
The weekend of July 22, 23, and 24 in Key West was filled with Hemingway Days Festival activities, including the Running of the Bulls featuring Hemingway look-alike candidates riding the bulls down Duval Street. This whole wacky event starts in front of Sloppy Joe's, Hemingway's favorite bar hangout during the 1930s. Every year Sloppy Joe's hosts a Hemingway Look-Alike Contest.

All the art and crafts tents as well as the many food tables that lined the blocks at the end of Duval Street reminded me a little of the Crab Carnival festivities in our little town of West Point that takes place each October.

The Hemingway Days Festival started me thinking and wondering if the folks in Key West, back in the years the Pulitzer Prize-winning author was living and writing there, appreciated his talent. Or did they consider this man an eccentric who enjoyed fishing, socializing, and imbibing in alcoholic beverages?

Hemingway is surely an icon now, revered in Key West where visitors flock to the house on Whitehead Street that was the home of the author and his second wife, Pauline. They also head to the Museum of Art & History at the Custom House which features a broad display of Hemingway items as well as an interesting and informative video about his life.

Do many little towns find a hometown hero who wasn't always so heroic? Richmond, VA claims Edgar Allen Poe. Our little town has Chesty Puller, the most decorated U.S. Marine in history.

Does your town have a hero to go along with a festival or some other event? Do they revere their writers and artists of the present day? I'd like to know about some of these events and who the heroes are.

Mary Montague Sikes


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I think there's a Steinbeck Festival over on the coast. In our town of Springville, there's an Apple Festival and I do sell my books there, but it's the apple that's the hero.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, I can't think of one.

N. R. Williams said...

Nothing that I am aware of in the metro Denver area. But in the mountains in the little town of Idaho Springs founded with the gold rush in the 1800's there is a statue of some cartoon character that my mother had to go look at because she remembered it. As you can see, I don't.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Holli said...

We have all kind of festivals here in N.O, but one of the best is the Tennessee Williams festival. All kinds of events are planned, including plays for different budgets, which was nice when I was a theater major at UNO and didn't have a lot of money to spend on plays. We got extra credit one year in my acting class for attending and writing a paper on one of the smaller productions of The Rose Tattoo.

They also have all kinds of reading and writing events, but the best part is that it all culminates in the Stella contest, where people dress up and compete for the Stanley Kowalski prize for doing the best imitation of old Stan from Streetcar Named Desire by calling. "Stellllllla!!!!" up to one of the balconies in Jackson Square. All types enter, but only the first 25 to sign up are allowed to compete. Women are also invited, but scream, "Stannnnnnley," instead of Stella.

I mention in Gumbo Justice that my protag Ryan Murphy guessed that one of her favorite cops was working undercover because she knew the detective's usual mode of dress didn't normally include a Stanley Kowalski white tank top, the idea I got from watching the Stella contest on our local news.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice

Peggy Frezon said...

Our town's hero is Uncle Sam. Supposedly he was born in Troy, NY.

Monti said...

Thank you all for your comments. Sure would like to know more about home town heroes and how they evolve.
Unusual one in New Orleans, and I didn't realize Uncle Sam was a real person!