The Cigar Event of the Year
Santiago de los Caballeros, Febr 2009
The Second Procigar Festival took place in the Dominican Republic from February 15th until February 20th. The event brought in cigar smokers from around the world for an unforgettable experience of great cigar education, the Best Premium Smokes the Dominican Republic has to offer; all surrounded by fun, sun and golf.
Starting on February 15th in world famous La Romana Casa de Campo, Tabacalera de Garcia welcomed the cigar lovers to enjoy the Dominican Republic.
During their stay in La Romana the participants began with the Second Annual Procigar Golf Tournament at the well known golf course Teeth of The Dog and enjoyed the tropical show Candelá staged at the Altos de Chavón amphitheater.
On Tuesday February 16th those in La Romana toured the world’s largest cigar factory – Tabacalera de Garcia. By the afternoon, the official registration for the Festival began in Santiago at the hotels Hodelpa Gran Almirante and Hodelpa Garden Court, where every participant received a welcome goodie bag containing several promotional Festival items, a spectacular cigar box made especially for the occasion by Vrijdag-premium printing containing samples of all the Procigar companies, and other products courtesy of the event sponsors.
During this Second Annual Festival, four tour choices were offered everyday in Santiago. Everyone attending had the opportunity to review and select their choices online before arriving in Santiago. Not only were tours of cigar factories offered, but there also was another golf tournament and tours of the Presidente Beer Company, Brugal Rum Factory and the Path of Cacao (Chocolate).
On Wednesday February 17th the official activities of this Festival started in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros, with a wonderful itinerary that included the factory visits to Matasa, La Aurora and General Cigar, where attendees learned about production of their favorite cigar brands and then had lunch with the directors of each company.
Some of the participants decided to skip the factory tours and instead took part in another Procigar Golf Tournament. The second tournament of this year’s festival took place at Las Aromas golf course, where Mr Víctor García Sued, in representation of our city hall, welcomed them to the city. Callaway golf products were given at both tournaments by the courtesy of our sponsor Golf Destinaire.
On the afternoon of the 17th , a seminar on Cigar Flavor and Strength was given by Mr. Hendrik Kelner, president of Procigar and Tabadom Holding (Davidoff). The seminar ended with the pairing of wine with cigars thanks to Mr. Andrew Brandt , President of Vinos S.A.
This first day came to an end with a wonderful welcome dinner, at the Patio Vidal which was decorated with country notes and everyone enjoyed a typical Dominican buffet. The Rafelito Mirabal's orchestra, courtesy of Presidente Beer, entertained the crowd with a selection of merengue music while a group of dancers performed a traditional Dominican Dance Show. A dancing contest was made up of festival participants and was followed with enthusiasm by all attendees. The contest ended in a tie with Mr. Arthur Zaretsky from Famous Smoke Shop sharing the crown with Mr. Michael Herklots of Davidoff. Mr. Zaretsky ended up earning the prize of selecting 100 cigars from any of the Procigar members cigar factories.
On Thursday February 18th La Aurora, Davidoff, Matasa and Presidente Beer opened their doors to all the participants where they were able to see closely the manufacturing process. A visit to the historical Colonial City in Santo Domingo was also included in the Presidente Beer tour.
This second afternoon, the attendees also participated in the seminar Cigar 101 given by Mr. Daniel Núñez, President of General Cigar.
A wonderful white dinner was held at the Monumento a los Heroes de la Restauración, where Mr. Tony Saint-Hilare, Governor of the Monumento, welcomed the crowd. The smoke of the best Premium Cigars in the World was mixed with a panoramic view of our city, a Dominican carnival show and the music of a fantastic music group. The fun continued way past midnight with an After Party at Francifol Café located in the Historical Center of Santiago.
On Friday February 20th four tours were again coordinated: Davidoff, General Cigar’s tobacco fields, Brugal Rum Tour and the Path of Chocolate.
During the Brugal Tour the visitors were able to interact with the Master Roneros who are managers of the formulation and tasting of the Rum, besides enjoying the characteristics and the peculiar aroma of the aging warehouses. They had lunch in front of the Atlantic Ocean with an entertaining spectacle of dolphins and sea lions.
The Closure Party Dinner was held at a private club in Santiago, Centro Español, with an Ocean theme and the spectacular performance of the Bravissimo show. The evening climaxed with an auction of limited edition cigars and related items to benefit the International Children’s Heart Foundation for the Children’s Hospital Arturo Grullón and the Hospicio San Vicente de Paúl de Santiago (senior retirement home for low income elders). The auction raised US$80,000 that night.
During this Festival there were 160 people registered for the day tours and a total of 250 people for the dinners that came from United States, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Israel, Germany, Russia, China, Canada, Spain, Bulgary, Sweden, Polland, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Mexico, France and Dominican Republic. At the closure dinner the number of people increased to 400 due to the attendance of national guests.
The Festival had the coverage of several national magazines and newspapers and the following international press: Smoke & Smokeshop, Cigar Aficionado, CHP Aboard (Lattitudes), Tobacconist, Perelman, Pioneer & Co., Florida Cigar Snob Magazine, Cigar Review, Cigar Magazine, Cigar Weekly, Tobacco Outlet Business Magazine, all of them from United States, La Revue des Tabacs from France, Hecho A Mano and Cigar Clan both from Russia, Bulgarian Media, La Boutique del Fumador from Spain, Cigar Magazine Israel, Cigar Ambassador from China and European Cigar Cult Journal from Austria.
Gold: Ferquido, American Airlines, Fersan, Hodelpa Gran Almirante, Hodelpa Garden Court, Deward’s 12 & Grey Goose Vodka, Vrijdag-premium printing, Instituto del Tabaco, Cervecería Nacional Dominicana (Cerveza Presidente), Karoma Estate Coffe, Banco Popular, Brugal & Co, Golf Destinaire- Callaway, Secretaría de Estado de Agricultura y Cigar Rings,
Silver: Adozona, Vinos S.A, y Ayuntamiento de Santiago,
Bronze: Picus, Editora Premium, Pineapple, ProdaCom, S.A y Refrescos Nacionales con sus marcas Coca-Cola y Dasani.
The Association of the Dominican Cigar Manufacturers with its members La Aurora, Tabadom Holding (Davidoff), Tabacalera de García, General Cigar, Matasa and Juan Clemente is looking forward with this Festival to maintain the positioning and the status of the Dominican Republic, Cigar Country, as the First Exporter of Premium Cigars in the World.
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