Day 1 of the Save The Leaf weekend is in the books,and what a day it was. I arrived in College Park Maryland around 11AM Saturday morning and as I sat outside the hotel I fired up a cigar and within in moments I met a new Brother of the Leaf, John, who just got in from a 4 hours drive from NYC. We introduced ourselves and that is how this day continued.
Brothers and Sisters of the leaf arriving from as far away as Milwaukee, NYC, South Caroline, Detroit, and Florida, not to mention the local representation from the Maryland,Virginia and Washington DC.
The day continued as we heard of the passing of Don Carlos Fuente, which was sad and heart breaking, but made our cause all that much more stronger. For it was men like Carlos that made this industry what it is today, gave spark to the newcomers and help grow it through the many “ebbs and flows” over the decades. Don Carlos will be truly missed and we hope his spirit lives on in all of us as we fight for the rights to enjoy the leaf.
Through the day we spread out the volunteer force across the DC metro area, visiting shops and introducing the Save the Leaf movement and building momentum for the big event, Monday August 8th. By the time early evening came upon us, it was time to relax as we gathered in the grassy field on the hotel grounds. This first event Herf was sponsored by Drew Estate and Caldwell Cigars, each of which donated cigars to be given away and raffled off. Every one that came last night received their choice of a Caldwell or Drew Estate cigar and raffle tickets were sold to raise money for the cause. I am told that the organization raised roughly $1,000 last night alone, not mention the continuous Go Fund Me donations that have been rolling in. Cigars were raffled off through out the night and everyone seemed to be happy and in great spirits.
The beautiful part of this Herf was the magnificent Tapestry of people, that were in attendance. A broad weave Race, Creed, Economic and Social Status. It is what this Sister and Brotherhood of the leaf is all about. We care and support each other. We had brand owners, consumers, and retailers all enjoying time together, smoking our favorites, and making new friends.
So that was yesterday. Today we continue the work. There are more people arriving as I type this and we will be out on the lawn making signs for the protest tomorrow. Tonight we will have another Herf event sponsored by Gurkha cigars. If you were here last night, you know the fun we had, if you are in town tonight or just getting in, swing by the Marriott College Park and say hello, it is sure to be another grand event. Most important though is tomorrow – 8AM to 4PM on the west Capital lawn, Save the Leaf will be out in force all day – come join us and make your voice heard.