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Cigar industry is blooming … period. Not only we are seeing quality products out on the market but cigar smokers and aficionados can now discuss those products in-person with manufacturers. On Sunday, 03APR2011, that opportunity presented itself in New Jersey. Riverfront Stadium, the home of the Newark Bears was the home of the 1st New Jersey Cigar Festival. David Mallow, mastermind behind this project and the owner of Barrister cigar shop, despite questionable weather and last minute obstacles, was able to pull of a pretty good event. In reference to manufacturers, one was able to chat with few of the heavy hitters in the cigar industry: Miami Cigar & Company; Alec Bradley; Drew Estate; Joya de Nicaragua; Reinado; Rocky Patel; Los Blancos; Maraya; Martin Family; Villiger; Xikar as well as CRA; The Guayabera Lady; The Metropolitan Society; Smoke N Lounge.

David Mallow approached me couple weeks before the Festival and asked if I was interested in coming over and photographing the event. Perfect opportunity to catch-up with fellow Brothers/Sisters Of The Leaf, chat with the manufacturers, and last but surely not least, expand my personal photo project – ‘The Cigar Smoker.’ I believe I have accomplished all three. I was able to catch up with my friend – Barry Stein from acigarsmoker.com. In manufacturer department, I finally met David Lafferty – Regional Manager at Drew Estate. We have exchanged few laughs and talked about a very ‘sensitive’ subject – ‘Liga accounts’ (* LoL !!!). It is always a pleasure to chat with Miami Cigar crew – Chris Lenzo & Arielle Ditkowich (La Sirena). To get to Arielle, one has to walk through/around couple other ‘sunday’ photographers. Next time ! A day wouldn’t be complete without chatting with a good friend of mine, Antonio – the head of ‘Reinado‘ empire. I admire Antonio’s passion and wish him all the best. If you live in North Jersey and you are a cigar smoker looking for a cozy place with great camaraderie, there is nothing better than The Metropolitan Society private club. George Koodray (President) and Nick Verdi (Vice President) were present at the festival and it was a pleasure to catch up with a ‘bada bing’ crew.

Below is a visual summary of the event and contribution toward my ‘The Cigar Smoker’ project. Enjoy !

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