Earlier in October, I had the pleasure of being invited to this year’s Cigar Bash, hosted by Casa de Montecristo, at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida. The event took place on Saturday October 7. 2023 and I will say it was well attended. Tickets for the event came in two forms:
- VIP set you back $245.00 and got you admission to the event 1 hour early (12 Noon) along with an open bar and upgraded VIP food. You also got 35 premium cigars in an upgraded event bag.
- General Admission was $195.00 and got you an event bag with 30 premium cigars, food, and 2 drink tickets.
To be honest, the $50.00 extra was worth it for 5 more cigars and the open bar if you planned on drinking more than 2 drinks. The upgraded food was also a bonus, but the general admission fixings were just fine.
One Ding and On We Go
If I was to ding this event for one thing, it would be the admission process. As noted, the VIP tickets were admitted in an hour earlier, but that was a little off. The way it actually worked was a VIP line formed prior to the noon time opening, but then you had to go through a metal detector (OK) then you had to get in a line to check in and get a wrist band and the swag bag. That process reduced the time of admission. I feel it would be better if they checked you in when you arrived then once you had a wrist band on, you could just walk through the metal detector and into the event once the event opened. Maybe next year. Other than that, the event was excellent.
If I got all the pictures correct, there were 22 vendors at the event. You got to meet many of the company reps and spend time talking about the brands they were representing. They all were offering discounts on boxes and samplers of their products. Most discounts were around 10% off MSRP. I would also say that the only “Brand Owner” that was there was Sharon Holt from Southern Draw Cigars, but there were many familiar faces of the brands, and they pretty much brought out their A team of representatives to give the consumer a satisfactory experience.
The Food and Drink
The food was excellent, even if you were a General Admission ticket holder. There were plenty of sliders, cheese macaroni, slices of Cuban Sandwiches and even stacks of Black and White cookies. I was glad I made this a free day for my dietary consumption, because Black and White cookies are one of my demons.
Over on the VIP side of the pool there was a Council Oak carving station that served up some awesome brisket and pretzel rolls along with all the fixings. The bar was well stocked with premium beverages and expert service. I was never concerned about a line as the service was fast even as the bartenders were swamped mixing up Old Fashioneds by hand. Nothing ran out, as every station of food and drink was attended to.
As always, the most important part of a cigar event is the people, the comradery and the friendships both new and old. The Tampa Cigar Bash 2023 did not disappoint. There were plenty of happy faces enjoying a beautiful Florida weekend afternoon. I got to meet a number of old friends and had the time to sit with some new ones, I met that day. Conversation was civil and congenial throughout the day. We all just did what we love doing; smoke cigars, tell stories, talk sports and other topics and just enjoy a relaxing day.
A Little Casino Fun Too
Put me near a casino and I am going to try my luck always. This weekend was no different and as you see below, Lady Luck was on my side this time. For 88 cents I won $196.00 which I cashed out and turned back into a box of cigars. Not bad at all. Oh yea, I was even on the slot when this hit – so Boom Shaka Laka for me.
As for the event I feel Casa de Montecristo did a fine job with it and offered the consumer a pleasant and enjoyable day. This is one of the best in the state of Florida. There even some excellent raffle prizes including a Drew Estate branded Stand Up Bar and a Year’s supply of cigars from Casa De Montecristo. All in all, the event ran from noon to five PM for me and I enjoyed it.