DR Cigar Fest--The Wrapup
Posted: Mar 11, 2008 11:31am ET
The first ProCigar Festival is in the books, and it went pretty well. About 120 people had a chance to spend time with cigarmakers in their factories and fields, they smoked up a storm and they got a nice taste of Dominican culture. A few even did the extended stay and spent this weekend in La Romana, home to Tabacalera de Garcia, and played in a golf tournament. I wish I could have joined them, but I had to return home.
There were cigars passed out at all of the dinners and lunches, at the factory and field tours and at most of the activities, plus there was an attractive sampler box that everyone got when they arrived. I have mine right here, and I thought I’d give you a little look inside.
The festival has been a long time coming, and I’m happy that it finally happened. Hopefully it will become an annual event, just like the Habanos Festival held in Cuba.
The Habanos festival is much larger than the ProCigar Festival. I believe more than 1,000 people attended the gala dinner completing the Habanos Festival, while the ProCigar Festival had little more than 100 in attendance. But Cuba has been doing this for a decade. Give the Dominicans time to get themselves up to speed on throwing this type of party, and—with a little more promotion—the ProCigar Festival will only get bigger. I’m told Santiago will have another hotel in a few months, which will add needed tourist space to the city. Right now, they really couldn’t handle 1,000 guests.
The comparisons between the festivals seemed to be partisan. One Dominican I spoke to said the ProCigar Festival was much better organized and far superior to the Habanos Festival. I asked the same question to a Cuban who had attended both, and she said the Habanos Festival was head and shoulders above the ProCigar Festival.
In the end, I believe there is certainly room for both. If you love cigars, how can you not love spending time in one of the countries where cigars are made, walk through a tobacco field, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a cigarmaker and immerse yourself in the culture of the land?
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