The success of the recently created Ernest Hemingway Festival was acknowledged statewide last month at the Idaho Governor's Conference on Rural Development, Recreation and Tourism in Lewiston. Carol Waller, the executive director of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, was on hand to receive the Outstanding Cultural Tourism Award, presented in recognition of the project or event that best showcases Idaho's cultural tourism offerings.
"We're thrilled with the success of the first annual Ernest Hemingway Festival last fall, and the recognition it has received not only in Idaho but worldwide," said Waller. "We look forward to another banner turnout for this year's festival, themed "Hemingway and Hollywood," at the end of September.
The chamber, in association with various community partners, created the annual weekend festival last year. The festival aims to celebrate the life and heritage of Hemingway in Idaho. While Hemingway played a big part in Sun Valley and Ketchum's history, an annual event that celebrated this shared past had never been established in the area. Many cities around the globe (including Barcelona, Spain, Havana, Cuba, and Key West, Fla.) annually celebrate their history with Hemingway, one of the most famed authors of the 20th century.
Hemingway's long history in Sun Valley, his passing, and that he was laid to rest in the Ketchum Cemetery is significant to many Hemingway scholars and fans. The inaugural festival, which took place Sept. 22-25, 2005, brought more than 300 attendees from across the country throughout the weekend. The event consisted of talks by esteemed scholars and speakers, workshops with area students from as far away as Idaho Falls, tours of Hemingway's favorite places, an Indian Summer Shootout (trap event), a dinner with Hemingway's friends and family, a short story contest, a slide presentation on Hemingway in Idaho, and museum displays.
Winners of the Governor's Awards are selected by a panel of judges from the Office of the Governor, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idaho Historical Preservation office and the Idaho Department of Commerce & Labor.