Thursday, March 25, 2010

Procigar 2010 Festival Wrap-Up


Santiago, Dominican Republic - Beginning on Sunday, February 14, 2010, leading cigar manufacturers and sponsors came together to kick off the third annual Procigar Festival to celebrate the Dominican Republic's role as one of the world's foremost tobacco producing countries.

Sponsored by world-renowned Dominican cigar producing companies, General Cigar, Matasa, Tabacalera de Garcia, La Aurora, Tabadom, and Tabaquisa, the 2010 Procigar Festival welcomed more than 200 guests representing more than 20 countries.

During the Festival, participants enjoyed guided tours of each sponsor company's tobacco plantations and cigar making operations. In addition, the Festival also celebrated the rich culture of the island nation by treating guests to authentic Dominican cuisine, merengue music and visits to local cultural centers.

The festival began on February 14th in La Romana, Casa de Campo, where Jose Seijas from Tabacalera de Garcia welcomed the cigar lovers to the Dominican Republic. While in La Romana, guests participated in the third annual Procigar Golf Tournament at the legendary Teeth of the Dog golf course, one of two golf tournaments that took place during this year's festival.

On Tuesday February 16th, Festival registration began in Santiago and on Wednesday February 17th the official activities of the festival started in the host city of Santiago de Los Caballeros. During the three-day itinerary, guests were treated to guided tours of Matasa, La Aurora, General Cigar and Davidoff factories, where attendees saw firsthand how their favorite cigars are produced. As a bonus, guests had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with executives and cigar makers from each sponsor company and participated of tastings, seminars, tobacco rolling experience and the launching of new cigars.

New for this year, each guest had the opportunity to select from one of five daily activities online to customize their itinerary before arriving. In addition to cigar factory and plantation tours, Procigar festival participants had the option to partake in activities including Presidente Beer, Brugal Rum, Karoma Coffee plantation, the Dominican Craftsmanship and City Tour or the Path of Chocolate tour. For the adventuresome, the Damajagua River Adventure featured a guided tour of Dominican waterfalls. In addition it was held a second golf tournament, which took place at Santiago's Las Aromas golf course.

Also new for 2010, the Festival's first-ever press conference was held at the Hodelpa Gran Almirante in Santiago with the participation of Hendrik Kelner, Manuel Quesada, Dan Carr, Guillermo Leon and Juan Clemente, followed by the seminar "Why Dominican Republic is Cigar Country". A cigar blind tasting contest was made during this seminar ending with 7 lucky winners that received discounts and full paid trip for the 2011 Festival.

The welcome dinner was filled with Dominican culture featuring carnaval, Dominican cuisine and perico-ripiao music performed by "El Prodigio". A dancing contest was made up again of festival participants, the finalist were again Arthur Zarestky, Michael Herklots and new on stage Thaddeus Bug, the latter took the crown earning the prize of selecting 100 cigars from any of the Procigar members cigar factories.

A gorgeous white dinner was offered at the Monumento a los Heroes de La Restauracion, which is the main symbolic building of Santiago, here the participants enjoyed a beautiful view of the city and a taste of a unique cigar, never to be repeated again, made with special tobaccos from all factories of Procigar. A silent auction was also held to benefit the sister country of Haiti. A fun after party continued after this dinner for those that did not want to end the night early.

The closing ceremony was held at a private club in Santiago called Centro Espanol. This year's theme embraced the history of Santiago and celebrated the sights and sounds of Santiago in the early 1900's. The evening culminated in a live auction of limited edition cigars and related items to benefit the Voluntariado de Jesus con los ninos (Non-Profit organization for ill children) and the Hospicio San Vicente de Paul de Santiago (retirement home for low income elders).

Gold Sponsors:
Hodelpa Gran Almirante, Presidente, American Airlines, Ferquido, Cigar Rings, Banco Popular, Intabaco, Fersan, Casa de Campo, Consejo Nacional de Zonas Francas de Exportacion, Vriijdag premium printing, Corporacion Zona Franca Industrial, Ayuntamiento Municipal de Santiago, Karoma.

Silver Sponsors:
Manne Tobacco Flavour, Editoria Premium, Brugal

Bronze Sponsors:
El Catador, Coca-Cola y Dasani, Golf Destinaire (Callaway), El Sendero del Cacao, CEI-RD, International Packaging, UPS, Direccion General de Aduanas, BME, Seguros BanReservas