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Santiago, Dominican Republic — PROCIGAR, the Association of the Dominican Cigar Manufacturers, celebrates its status as the largest producer of premium cigars in the world with its sixth annual Procigar Festival. 

Sponsored by world-renowned Procigar members such as General Cigar, Matasa, Tabacalera de García, La Aurora, Tabadom, Corporación Cigar Export, Tabaquisa, Tabacalera Fuente, Tabacalera La Alianza and La Flor Dominicana the Procigar Festival welcomed over 300 guests from more than 20 countries. Attendees included suppliers, retailers, consumers and industry associates who gathered to celebrate the Procigar Festival and to honor the Dominican Republic – the Cigar Country – as the number one exporter of premium cigars in the world for twenty (consecutive) years.

The festival started on February 17th in the illustrious resort Casa de Campo, located in La Romana, where the biggest cigar factory Tabacalera de García welcomed cigar lovers to the country and guide them through its cigar production facilities. While in La Romana, guests had the option to relax before the main part of the program began by taking a catamaran ride to Palmilla & Saona Island, enjoying an eco-walk through Las Cuevas de Las Maravillas, play golf at the famous Teeth of the Dog Golf Course or simply relax at Casa de Campo.

On Tuesday, February 19th, guests headed to Santiago, the “heart of Cigar Country,” for three days, where they were able to partake in guided tours of Matasa, La Aurora, General Cigar, Corporación Cigar Export and Davidoff factories and tobacco fields. Attendees were also able to choose from other exciting activities while in Santiago, including rum factory tours, city tours, merengue lessons and a beach day, among others. New activities for this year were an adventured tour to Saltos de Damajagua waterfalls and paring coffee with cigars. At the 2nd Procigar Poker Tournament with proceeds to local Charity, Houng Young, an cigar lover from Texas, took the crown winning a full paid trip to the Procigar Festival 2014 and Christian Hutson, a retailer from Missouri, won a full registration as a second place.

A wonderful goodie bag has been given to all Festival guests with a retail price of approximately US$300.00, including the festival special edition cigar box, a beautiful ashtray, cigar accessories, a polo shirt, hat and coffee.

The traditional welcome dinner was held on Wednesday, February 20th where Ernesto Perez-Carillo and Litto Gomez were introduced to the crowd as new members of Procigar. At this night special cigars were offered to all the guests. Tabacalera de García presented the Montecristo No. 2, Corporación Cigar Export launched Don Julio, Matasa presented the Fonseca Cubano Exclusivo, La Aurora came up with Aurora Cien Años Maduro Especial Edition while Tabacalera La Flor Dominicana presented Unidad. The popular merengue dance contest took place and the winners received a special selection of 100 cigars of their choice from the members of Procigar. 

The following evening, Thursday February 21st, the guests enjoyed a traditional white attire dinner atop Santiago’s Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración where guests also had For Immediate Release February 17-22, 2013 Contact: Catherine Llibre / Sara Tio Tel.: 809-580-4754 cllibre@procigar.org / saratio@procigar.orgthe opportunity to smoke special cigars from the other Procigar Members: General Cigar presented a Special Blend ADP6, Tabacalera La Alianza had the Limited Edition 2012, Tabadom Holding pre-launched the Davidoff Master Edition “Club House” and Tabacalera Fuente offered the Don Carlos Robusto. After this wonderful evening guests were invited to an after party at the famous night club, Vicci. 

The closing ceremony took place at the Centro Español, a private Spanish club in Santiago, where guests enjoyed a delicious dinner and an exciting show. This night the members of Procigar paid tribute to Raudy Torres, the Dominican most famous “Robalagallina” (one of the many characters that is typically seen in Dominican Carnaval, and means “Chicken Thief”). Also new passive members were presented - cigar industry related companies such as Capas Nacionales, International Packaging and ASP Enterprises. A raffle and auction of special products was made benefiting the Voluntariado de Jesús con los Niños and the Hospicio San Vicente de Paúl, non-profit organizations dedicated to helping ill children and impoverished elders. This event culminated with carnaval characters, a drum show, dancers, Dominican singers and DJ on stage.

Hendrik Kelner, the president of ProCigar, had some touching words to say at the stage of the final dinner; he expressed the hope that all of the guests had a chance to discover Dominican culture and the most antique tradition of this country – tobacco, as well as to understand why we are the major and the best cigar exporters in the world. 

“From this day on Dominican Republic is happy to have you among its goodwill ambassadors. We are not being the richest country, but God gave us the best soil to grow tobacco. We don't have the best education, but our people are intelligent, skillful and responsible. We are a poor developing country but we have the best smiles. Our houses are humble, but we welcome our guests with joy and appreciation. We are missing a lot of material things, but we thank Gog for those that he gave us... and we are proud to admit that there are things that we do good. God bless you and see you at the seventh ProCigar festival in February 2014”.

Procigar Festival Sponsors are:

PLATINUM –Xikar, Vrijdag Premium Printing, Instituto del Tabaco de la República Dominicana, Grand Island Group, Ministerio de Turismo, Cigar Rings.

GOLD –Casa de Campo, Hodelpa Gran Almirante, Corporación Zona Franca Industrial Santiago, Banco Popular, ASP Enterprises, Karoma Estate Coffee.

SILVER – Mane Group Tobacco Flavors, Fertilizantes Químicos Dominicanos (Ferquido), International Packaging, Casino CIRSA, INXS Entertaiment, Sardell Imports, Fersan, Cerveza Presidente. 

BRONZE – Ministerio de Industria y Comercio, Ministerio de Agricultura, Domitab, Casa Colonial Resort, Swedish Match Dominicana, Inetab, Quisqueya Dominicana Sunland, Nupak Printing, Golf Destinaire-Callaway, Coca-Cola & Dasani, El Catador, Consejo Nacional de Zonas Francas de Exportación, Jose Mendez & Cia, Compañía de Tabacos Quisqueya, Tabacos Villa González, Flor de los Reyes, Dirección General de Cultura, Corporación Aeropuerto Cibao, Vicci Room, The Guayabera Lady, Ron Brugal, Dewar’s & Gray Goose, Ayuntamiento del Municipio de Santiago, CEI-RD.