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ProCigar Festival - Dominican Republic

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

The first two months of each year are cold in much of the United States. They are also, now for many years, defined by cigar festivals in warmer climes. You know, the places where cigars are made. There’s Puro Sabor, which takes place in Nicaragua, and the Habanos Cigar Festival in Cuba. The one right in between takes place in the Dominican Republic, mainly in the capital of the cigar industry, Santiago. Known as ProCigar, the 16th annual festival just ended this February.

It's All About Cigars

Like all the festivals, the events are geared to making it easy for attendees to meet and get to know their favorite cigar-makers. The factories, not usually open to the public, invite the festival guests inside to get acquainted with the finer points of how the cigars are made. There’s also a field day, during which festivalgoers get to see where tobacco is grown and cured. And every night, it’s a party.

Who’s There

Among the companies represented at the 2024 ProCigar Festival were, in alphabetical order, Arnold Andre, Arturo Fuente, Casa Carrillo, Davidoff, De Los Reyes Cigars, La Aurora, La Flor Dominicana, PDE Cigars, Quesada Cigars, Tabacalera de Garcia (they make Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta), and Tabacalera Palma (which makes La Galera). If you’re not familiar with some of the manufacturers, maybe it’s time to get to the festival and get to know them. At each evening event, guests are given a box containing one cigar from each ProCigar manufacturing member.

The White Party

In the middle of the festival, there’s a majestic party with everyone in attendance getting a very special box of cigars and a piece of art. Guests are encouraged to dress entirely in white and invited to dance the night away to the Latin beat.

In the Field

The field visit was to the nearby La Aurora property. La Aurora is the oldest cigar company in the Dominican Republic, and this is a working farm. It’s not necessarily built for show, though on this particular day there’s a big tent in the field housing bars, several food stations (the smash burgers were a hit) and two hat stands. You could throw darts or beanbags. Or you could visit the table of any of the eleven members of ProCigar. Well, if they showed up. About only half did this year.

Cigar Rolling Competition

During the field visit, a competition was held to see who could roll the best cigar. About 30 visitors participated and the contest was judged by pros. The top three winners received different cigar samplers.

A Good Cause

Every year, ProCigar concludes the gathering with an impressive gala night during which money is raised for charity. It’s the most formal affair, ending with an auction of rare and unique humidors. Every ProCigar member donated something special to the auction and everything sold. The top item was a Fuente Fuente OpusX Serie Heaven and Earth Big B Humidor, that went for $70,000. In all, the auction raised more than $530,000 for several charities that help children, the elderly, and provide housing for the disadvantaged employees of the industry. For the first time in the festival’s history, the president of the Dominican Republic attended the closing night.

While attendees get cigars at every nighttime event, the last night is the most generous. So, if you’re going, take an extra bag to take back your cigar haul. But don’t pack until the end of the after-party!

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