The two largest cigar-making nations will be holding their own separate, unaffiliated cigar festivals next month: Cuba's 11th Habanos Festival and the Dominican's second ProCigar Festival.
The celebrations draw cigar enthusiasts from all over the world, providing a festive education through seminars, factory and farm tours, gala dinners and other cigar-related events intended to spread cigar awareness. Fans of Cuban or Dominican cigars get the chance to immerse themselves in each country's respective cigar culture by visiting the world's cigar-producing epicenters with their fellow aficionados and getting sneak peeks of the upcoming products slated for 2009.
The Dominican Republic's ProCigar Festival will be held on February 16 through 20. Some of the country's biggest cigar companies are members, including General Cigar Co., La Aurora, Davidoff, and Manufactura de Tabacos S.A. (Matasa), the cigar company behind Cigar Aficionado's No. 1 cigar of 2008.
It costs $750 per person to attend, excluding hotel and airfare. For coverage of last year's event, more information or to order tickets, visit www.procigar.org.
Cuba's Habanos Festival spans February 23 to 27. For coverage of the 2008 event, visit www.festivaldelhabano.com. To get more information about the 2009 event, visit www.habanos.com.
Cigar Aficionado senior editor David Savona will blog from the ProCigar Festival in the Dominican Republic, while European editor James Suckling will file reports from Cuba during the Habanos Festival. To follow the editors' blogs, go to cigaraficionado.com.
For more, check out the latest Cigar Insider.