Cigar Events in 2020: A COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 has cleared the calendar of most in-person events and large gatherings this year, including those relating to cigars. Many events have gone virtual this year while others are already planning their next events for 2021. Here’s a rundown of all the upcoming cigar events that have had to cancel due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

Big Smoke Las Vegas and Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest
Cigar Aficionado’s Big Smoke Las Vegas and Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest, both scheduled to happen later this year, have been cancelled and will be moving to 2021. Big Smoke has been an annual event since 1995 and is attended by cigar smokers from across the world. This was going to be the first year of the Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Florida. Big Smoke doesn’t yet have new dates but Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on April 17, 2021.

Black Smoke Miami
Black Smoke is a large 5-day festival dedicated to Black cigar smokers from all over the world. Originally scheduled for Sept. 2-6, 2020, event organizers have opted to reschedule the event for Jan. 14-16, 2021.

CIGARFest 2020
This week, Cigars International announced the cancellation of CIGARFest 2020, which was scheduled to be held Oct. 16-17, 2020. When speaking about the decision to cancel this year’s festival, Cigars International president Sarah Santos had the following to say:

“After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to cancel CIGARfest this year. While it was a tough call to make, we needed to consider the expected state regulations and prioritize the health and safety of all who participate in the CIGARfest event. We are deeply disappointed because CIGARfest is an exciting weekend of comradery amongst old and new friends alike and a highlight on the calendar for many. We would like to thank our customers, vendors and members of the cigar community for their continued support. We look forward to resuming the event next year, better than ever.”

Current ticket holders will be offered a refund or given the option to transfer their tickets to CIGARFest 2021.

Tampa Cigar Bash
Casa de Montecristo has pulled the plug on October’s Tampa Cigar Bash. Organizers had held off on putting tickets up for sale in hopes that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would lessen and restrictions would ease. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to disrupt life and is forcing these big events to cancel due to crowd size restrictions.

“Our team has been closely monitoring guidance of public health officials, and government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. After careful and thoughtful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s 2020 Tampa Cigar Bash originally scheduled to take place in October. The well-being and safety of our guests, associates, and community is our top priority, and given the information and guidance provided surrounding large gatherings we have had to make this difficult decision to cancel this year’s event. Our team will be hard at work to make next year’s Tampa Cigar Bash even bigger.”

La Zona Palooza
Espinosa Premium Cigars’ annual La Zone Palooza is a popular event that won’t be able to happen due to South Florida’s ongoing struggle to contain COVID-19. Out of extreme caution, the company made the decision to cancel this year’s event and instead take it online with what’s being described as an innovative and entertaining virtual event.

“We agonized over this decision. We know this is disappointing, but we are fully committed to the safety of our staff, attendees, and local residents. We waited as long as we possibly could to make this decision, truly hoping that there would be a silver lining to this current situation,” said Erik Espinosa, brand owner. “Sadly, South Florida has become the epicenter of COVID-19 within the State of Florida and we cannot in good conscious hold this event, if even the remotest chance existed that a single member of our team and/or our La Zona family could become a victim of this pandemic.”

Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival
Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, typically held in Broomfield, Colorado, is going virtual this year. While organizers were hoping to be able to hold the event outdoors as usual, local restrictions on large gatherings are still in place due to COVID-19 and forced the physical festival to cancel out of precaution. Event organizers offered a virtual package that included 35 cigars from the festival’s various vendors and access to the event’s virtual show hosted by Cigar Dojo.

A surge in coronavirus cases in Austin Travis County, Texas, forced RoMa Craft to postponed this year’s WeaselFest until 2021. Ticket holders had three options moving forward–they could keep their tickets and roll them over into 2021, they could exchange their tickets for El Catador de Los Gran Perfecto samplers and WeaselPack gift sets, or they could receive a partial refund of up to $200 per ticket.

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– Photo courtesy of Cigars International / General Cigar Co.

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