You may have been using tobacco products for years and never realized that there are museums and festivals dedicated to your favorite habit. These events happen in various places around the world and may be worth a visit if you happen to be there at the right time.
Japan's Hadano Festival
Move over sushi – visitors have a new reason to visit Japan! Each September, the city of Hadano hosts its largest event of the year – a parade to thank and celebrate the tobacco industry for everything it has done for the region. Although one would imagine this to be an 18+ event, the entire city comes out in full force to join the festivities, regardless of age. In fact, the parade snakes its way from the city hall to one of the local elementary schools, making sure that its bright colors catch the eyes of everyone. Shops display their wares in pretty stalls, stage events are open for the public, and parades of ornate costumes wind their way through the streets – ensuring that there is something to suit every palate.
If you happen to swing by Japan in September, be sure to pay a visit.
The South Carolina Tobacco Festival
In 2019, this festival celebrated its 65th anniversary, and its popularity shows it has no intention of stopping. This event is organized each year by the Greater Lake City Chamber of Commerce. There is a distinct family feel to the festivities, as young and old mingle, enjoying music from local bands, sampling some local delicacies, and even participating in arts & crafts and a petting zoo for the little ones. For the older children, who may have outgrown pony rides, there is also a cornhole tournament, carnival rides, and a classic car show.
This festival has similar origins to the Hadano Tobacco Festival, as it was established to pay tribute to the tobacco farms and auctions that positively impacted the economy within the Lake City area.
The Logan County Tobacco and Heritage Festival
South Carolina is not the only US state to celebrate all things tobacco. Each year, Logan County in Kentucky hosts its own historical event. The original festival began in 1941, but after two years it was put on hold due to World War Two. However, it was resumed in full force in 1957, and has been running without any further interruptions for 63 years.
The Logan County Chamber of Commerce is responsible for this annual event, which pays homage to both the history of Logan County, as well as to Russellville – the world’s most prominent one-sucker tobacco market.
There are plenty of activities to keep everyone busy during this celebration, with bike rides, a 5 km run (or walk), a reenactment of Jesse James’ robbery of the Southern Bank of Kentucky, cemetery tours, a Senior Citizen’s Womanless Beauty Pageant, and so much more. Finally, the festivities culminate in what is known as ‘Parade Day’, which boasts one of the largest parades in the area, after which the square becomes jam-packed with food stalls and even more fun activities for the entire family. Although it all comes to an end by 8pm that evening, there is still time to join in on the karaoke and line dancing. If relaxing is more your style, then why not head to the bandstand and enjoy some live music – just do not forget to bring along your favorite tobacco product as company.
El Festival Del Habano
Not to be confused with the Hadano Festival, El Festival Del Habano is Cuba’s popular cigar festival (as if you did not have enough reasons to visit this gorgeous island already). The inaugural celebration took place in 1999 and has only grown in strength since then – previously hosting visitors from more than 80 countries. Its mandate is to celebrate the finest cigars in the world and allow cigar lovers from around the world to meet and mingle, sharing their love of habanos. This is a strictly adults-only event, as participants indulge in tastings and tours of local tobacco plantations.
This festival is also a great time for some low-key celebrity spotting. Famous faces such as Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons (to name only two) have been seen enjoying this event in the past few years.
Sun, cigars and celebrities – there is not much fault to be found with this festival.
The Snus and Match Museum in Sweden
This museum (Snus och tändsticksmuseum) is located in Stockholm and hosts industrial and cultural exhibits. It was founded in 1938 as a personal museum for the employees of Swedish tobacco and focused solely on tobacco – the match exhibits were added in 2000 – thus changing its name to the tobacco and match museum. Another name change occurred in 2016, when it officially began to focus on snus, and became the snus and match museum. This seems like a natural chain of events, as Sweden is widely considered the birthplace (and main market) of snus.
When visiting the museum, there are plenty of exhibitions to suit everyone’s taste. Drop off your kids in the designated children’s arts & crafts area, and enjoy learning about original Swedish tobacco magnates, the development of packaging, the design of classical snus factories, and much more.
Once you have learned as much as possible about Swedish snus through the ages, why not visit the museum’s restaurant. It is called Gubbhyllan (“old men’s shelf”), which refers to the terrace where guests traditionally sat and enjoyed their tobacco products (most likely accompanied by a drink or two). The chef at Gubbhyllan boasts several awards and accolades and is even the author of cookbooks. You are definitely in for a treat here.
No Matter how you wish to celebrate tobacco, there will definitely be an event that suites you. Or perhaps it is just nice to know that people out there celebrate and love tobacco just as much as you do!