The 18th Habanos Festival was held in and around Havana from February 29 to March 4th, 2106.
The annual event is the most prestigious international event dedicated to premium hand rolled cigars.
Hosting 1,200 attendees from more than 60 countries, this year’s festival was dedicated to the most exclusive brand in Habanos S.A.’s portfolio, Cohiba, in honor of its 50th anniversary.
The Habanos Festival also included a contest for the best cigar box design. This year’s award went to Roxana Vargas and her jewelry company, ROX.
Inspired by her father’s belief in her inner strength, Roxana turned her civil engineering studies and a passion for silversmithing into a thriving business employing more than 30 people with a growing international presence.
In an interview with the Cuba Journal, Roxana says, “My earlier passion for shaping metal into eternal pieces of art is now self-sustaining.” When asked about her biggest challenge, she says getting funding from friends and family to grow the business proved to be most difficult.
ROX designed a cigar box for the event and attended the festival.
The Habanos Festival is the largest annual international event celebrating the Habano culture. Attendees enjoyed live performances by Cuban pianist and composer, Chucho Valdes; the Spanish flamenco singer, Estrella Morente; and the Uruguayan singer-songwriter Jorge Drexler.
ROX has benefited from Cuba’s recent re-engagement with the U.S. and the swelling ranks of tourists visiting the island for the first time. ROX products are for sale at a growing number of public and private outlets. She even participated in this year’s Habanos Cigar Festival and won an award. And her designs reflect this new opportunity. “Open Doors” is a recent collection that reflects all the excitement unfolding on the political front in Cuba.
Changes to U.S. rules may allow her products to be sold there. Artisanal products like clothing, shoes and accessories are permitted while prohibited items include food products, vehicles and machinery. On the Cuban side, goods produced by independent Cuban cuentapropistas are now authorized for export.