2014 Washington Cigar and Spirts Festival - The BEST one ever!
The event started at 6 o'clock, but I didn't arrive until around 7 PM. Since my lovely wife wasn't coming with me this year, I wanted to take her out for Happy Hour at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar before I headed east. Nice restaurant by the way.
Anyway, major downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning driving up the mountain, but when I arrived at the casino the clouds seemed to part and I could see a touch of blue sky breaking through. Oh yeah, good sign!
So like I said, I arrived about an hour after it started, so I didn't wait in line or anything. Also, the Kirkland gang said that they'd save a place at the table for me, so no worries. (Thanks Lily!)
HOLY SHEET-O! There are a lot of people here! Josh, El Jefe and organizer of the whole event told me that there were 300 tickets, but man-o-man this sure looks like more than that! And I actually mean this in a good way. Seeing so many cigar aficionados in one place is very, very cool!
The layout for the event was somewhat similar to previous years, but with more tables and chairs, at least it looked that way. Cigar vendors were along the back wall, and booze guys were in the middle and along the wall to your right. To your left and in the middle was the food table, and the beer and pretzel guys were in the corner to the left of the ballroom entrance. Tables and chairs everywhere - plenty of seating.
Few things that I noticed about this year's event that might have been different from the past. One was of course the number of people. LOTS of people! The first hour must have had some pretty long lines of people waiting for cigars. When I got there it was still busy, but not THAT busy.
Next the food - REALLY good food this year! I'm not saying that the previous years were bad, but this year was really GOOD! Seasoned steamed red potatoes, sautéed green beans cooked just the way I like them, baked chicken, which I didn't try, penne pasta, also didn't try, and BBQ ribs, which were excellent! I would have loved to have pigged out more on all this food, but I was already somewhat full from Happy Hour with the Wifey-poo.
Also this year they also had a professional MC doing all the commentating. Basically, he was the guy telling you what was going on, what to look for, and throughout the evening calling out the winning ticket numbers for the prizes.
Oh, speaking of prizes, which were great by the way, so this year they did something that I thought was very smart. Instead of giving you a raffle ticket at the door, this year they affixed your ticket to the back of your punch card, and there's no way you're going to misplace that! Brilliant thinking you guys!
Anyway, I really had a good time hooking up with old friends, so cool being able to catch up with my cigar buddies! Met some new people as well. One thing that I've always said about about cigar people, they are probably the nicest and most social group that you'll ever come across!
Outstanding event! Just the fact that we're all here enjoying a fine cigar with some superior spirits and great food is really a unique experience for us here in Washington. I'm already looking forward to this event next year, and who knows, maybe next time I might even win a prize! Don't laugh, it could happen! Seriously!
Congratulations for another spectacular festival Josh! I can only imagine the amount of work and planning that went into it. I know I say this not only for me, but for the entire cigar community here:
Job well done!!
Sidenote: I snapped off a few photos - Click the link below: