The Dominican Cigar Festival—The Beginning

I’ve just arrived in Santiago for the first annual ProCigar Festival. This has been a long time coming, and I’m happy to be here. Cuba has had its cigar festival for more than a decade now, so why not a similar one in the Dominican Republic?

ProCigar is an association of leading Dominican cigarmakers. The member companies include General Cigar Co. (Macanudo, Partagas), Altadis U.S.A. Inc. (Romeo y Julieta, Montecristo), Davidoff (Davidoff and Avo), La Aurora (Aurora, León Jimenes) and Manufactura de Tabacos S.A. (Fonseca, Cubita). The idea is to have consumers tour the member companies’ factories, some tobacco fields, and spend a little time with the men who make the cigars.

Tonight things get into gear with a big dinner and a tribute to the nation’s favorite sport -- baseball. I’m here at the Gran Almirante, Santiago’s finest hotel, working out the kinks with the Internet service. (I wasn’t reduced to calling this blog in word-by-word, but it was close.) I’m looking forward to talking to the consumers attending the show. I figure most of these guys are going to smoke more cigars this week then they do in a typical month -- and they’re going to love every minute.

So far so good -- the weather is beautiful, sunny and warm, a nice change from the rain and wind I left behind this morning in New York, and I’m raring to go. For those of you who aren’t here, I’ll be your guide to what’s going on. Maybe you’ll take part next year.
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