of interesting cigar adventures these days. We've mentioned many of them before in the pages of SMOKE Magazine, because we believe firmly in the First Amendment right of "the people peacefully to assemble."
The right to peaceful assembly means that anyone can gather together with others without fear from the government. People can get together with whomever they want, as long as they are peaceful and not causing trouble. This applies to all groups-and should apply to those who enjoy the pleasure of fine cigars.
Others don't feel the same way, and some believe that the ability to savor a cigar should be restricted from us, if only for our own good.
Cigar festivals celebrate the heritage and craftsmanship of crafting cigars. They educate the consumer on the lengthy journey that tobacco leaves follow from tiny seeds not much bigger than grains of sand, to seedlings, vast fields of towering tobacco plants, to harvesting, curing in barns, fermenting in carefully stacked piles, fermenting again, baling and aging, and eventually landed on the workbench of a trained tabaquero who rolls the treasured leaves into cigars. The process takes years, and one will never again think about a cigar quite the same way once they've been walked through the process from start to finish.
That is just one aspect of the annual Procigar Festival in the Dominican Republic (www.procigar.org), where the nation's top cigar makers open the doors of their facilities and personally show visitors how they create their products. The rest of the time is literally spent enjoying cigars - Dominican style, in a week-long celebration where anyone can become friends with the "cigar stars" who toil to make your favorite brands. It's a wonderful opportunity for those who can attend. But if you can't, cigar makers travel to U.S. cigar shops all the time. Meet them there, get a taste of the passion that goes into each of your cigars, and know you are excercising your First Amendment Right to peaceful assembly.