Day One of the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Convention and Trade Show is now in the annals of history. This time, there was a very different feel to this opening day of the Trade Show. For the first time in the 13 years I have been covering the IPCPR and now PCA, the opening day contained a revamped agenda. I think it is one the PCA had to be pleased with.
Day One was highlighted by seminars and the annual meeting with the actual business of the Trade Show taking place on Day Two. With a couple of exceptions (which I will highlight a little later), I thought Day One generated interest, excitement, and energy.
The big change was that the annual meeting and keynote addresses, typically something that happened at a breakfast before the doors of the actual Trade Show opened on Day Two, have moved to the afternoon the day before the show opens. The other big change was the inclusion of educational seminars that were more tobacco and cigar-focused.
The following was the opening day agenda (in order)
- Cigar Docuseries Premiere: Hand Rolled: J.C. Newman Cigar Company
- The World of Fire Cured Tobacco – Discover the Passion Behind Toscano Cigars
- Blending Seminar Triple Threat: Manuel Quesada, Christian Eiroa, and Nestor Plasencia Jr.
- Premium Cigar Association Annual Meeting
- Oz Pearlman
- Opening Party
For the most part, I believe the education seminars went off quite well and were well-attended. The Hand Rolled documentary on J.C. Newman was quite well received. I felt the Toscano and Triple Threat Seminars went over well. 2022’s Fuente Friday seminar inspired the education seminars. While I don’t think Toscano and the Triple Threat had the energy of Fuente Friday, I still thought they provided value and they kept their audience in attendance the whole afternoon.
It was also good the seminars featured cigars. Perhaps the highlight was for attendees to sample the new Plasencia Cosecha 151.
I think moving the annual meeting to the day before the Trade Show doors opened worked out well. The big news out of this year’s meeting was the dates and locations of the 2025 PCA Trade Show. This topic is the biggest soap opera in the history of the PCA Trade Show. The best illustration was the audience’s reaction as Executive Director Scott Pearce talked about the dates and location. When Pearce announced the dates of the show (taking place in Las Vegas) were moving to the spring, there was applause. When Pearce announced the show would be taking place in New Orleans in 2025, you could have heard a pin drop. (although there was no booing). I expect the drama to build about New Orleans over the upcoming months.
The opening party was extremely well-attended. There was a huge line at the event as attendees received cigars from Espinosa Cigars, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, and Room101 Cigars. In addition, Quality Importers Trading Company made available to its attendees the soon-to-be-released Palió Pistola lighter.
In addition, Guy Fieri, Chazz Palminteri, and Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson Jenkins were all in attendance. Fieri was the most present of the celebrities. While I can understand the line to get a photo-op with Guy Fieri, there really was no reason to have a line to receive your cigars and lighter – and for many people, this was a long line.
In this author’s opinion the lines, the lack of food (you need to feed people better), and the industrial feel of this reception all are things the PCA should fix going forward.
Our team’s evening concluded with a media reception hosted by J.C. Newman. All in all, Opening Day has come a long way. It was a mostly enjoyable day and had good momentum for getting into the business of the Trade Show.
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop