Cigar enthusiasts to crowd The Criterion for Smokelahoma 

click to enlarge Todd Naifeh poses for a photo at ZT Cigars, Tuesday, May 31, 2016. - GARETT FISBECK
  • Garett Fisbeck
  • Todd Naifeh poses for a photo at ZT Cigars, Tuesday, May 31, 2016.

“Smoke ’em if you got ’em,” goes the old saying. If you don’t got ’em, you’ll likely find ’em June 18 at Smoklahoma.

Dylan Morgan, an event organizer and the store manager at local smoking chain ZT Cigars, said Smoklahoma is the first event of its kind in Oklahoma City.

“We’re just trying to meet a need that has been lacking for a while,” he said. “There’s never been a ‘cigar festival,’ so to speak, in Oklahoma.”

Though he’s always interested in winning new converts to the world of cigars, Smoklahoma’s price tag aims the event more at those who already enjoy puffing on a stogie.

The cigar-centric party takes over The Criterion, 500 E. Sheridan Ave., 6:30-10 p.m. June 18. General admission tickets are $150, and VIP tickets are $250.

Why so much? Morgan said it’s because cigar smokers get a lot back.

“When you walk in the door, you’re given about $300 worth of cigars, so it’s a great value,” he said. “People with a VIP ticket get a traveling humidor, so it’s all roughly valued at $400.”

The event isn’t just about cigars, though that’s definitely the main draw. Ned’s Catering makes the food, and there’s craft beer and liquor. VIP guests can even enjoy premium scotch.

Still, the cigar community is small enough regionally that Smoklahoma only makes 500 tickets available.

“It’s a really great event for people to come together and smoke cigars with like-minded people,” Morgan said.

Organizers also hope to draw cigar enthusiasts from Arkansas, Kansas and Texas.

Occasional leaves

“It’s going to be the first event of its kind at The Criterion,” Morgan said. “We’re bringing in smoke eaters, so rain or shine, it’s going to happen. We’re using ventilators to move the smoke around and get it out.”

Getting people in is less of a problem. Morgan said the “brothers and sisters of the leaf” come from every walk of life.

“We have guys anywhere from morticians, people who work for the city, business owners, attorneys, pastors, cardiologists,” Morgan said. “They all come together to enjoy a good cigar, good conversation and good people.”

At ZT Cigars, Morgan has become accustomed to people coming in who want to learn more about cigars. Much like wine, coffee and beer, cigars come in so many varieties that it’s really up to the customer to decide what they’re looking for.

“The first question I always ask is, ‘What’s the occasion?’” Morgan said. “Once you figure out why they come in, you can get into flavors: mild, medium or something a little stronger. There is an abundance of cigars right there in the middle.”

Those looking to buy also will find plenty at Smoklahoma.

“There will be a lot of 10-count box sales instead of the standard 20, to be more appealing to the consumer who wants to try something new,” he said. “It’s all designed to get more cigars into people’s hands.”

Print headline: Cigar central, Smoklahoma aims to give regional aficionados a place to stoke their passions. 

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