Paula Deen and Husband Celebrate Hemingway Days in Key West

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All photos by Laine Doss
Paula Deen and Michael Groover pose wih fellow Hemingway lookalike outside Sloppy Joe's.
This past Saturday, July 21, marked what would have been the 113th birthday of Ernest Hemingway. Each year, Key West celebrates the man who called the Conch Republic his home for a decade. The festivities culminate with the renowned Hemingway look-alike contest at Sloppy Joe's, where dozens of men with white beards and fishing shirts gather to see which one looks the most like Papa.

This year, one contestant received more attention than the others. Was he a dead ringer for the author who spent many days and nights in the bars of Key West? Well, yes, but the attention was directed more at his famous wife than him. You see, Michael Groover, a contestant from Savannah, Georgia, is married to none other than Paula Deen.

Paula Deen told Short Order that though she's not the biggest Hemingway fan, husband Michael is. "He has all of his books." Deen said Groover had entered the competition a few years earlier on a whim, but this year he was in it to win it.

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This contestant has a-Peal.
During Friday's semifinals, teams rooted for their favorite Papa. Steve Peal from Wilton Manors had a group waving bananas. John "Hurricane Hemingway" Wilt from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, wore boxing gloves and toted professional campaign signs. Each contestant was called to the stage to introduce himself and plead his case. Some recited parts of Hemingway's stories. Some sang songs.

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Michael Groover takes the Sloppy Joe's stage.
Michael Groover, in case attendees weren't aware of his spouse's fame, announced that his wife was Paula Deen. The crowd went wild as Deen stood up and waved.

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Paula Deen and feathered friend.

Location Info


Sloppy Joe's Bar

201 Duval St., Key West, FL

Category: Music

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