I'm surprised with how soon this is coming up that nobody has posted about going. This will be my first year. Driving up Friday so I can have lunch with a friend in State College. Looking forward to it, but worried about where to park and how much of a pain it will be catching a shuttle bus from one of the hotels since I couldn't bring myself to pay for a room just for me lol. So if anyone is needing or wanting to split a room cost, I'm game.
Not going to the event this year, but have been to this many times, so I hope that I can answer a few of your questions.
Plan on getting in line for your time slot at least an hour early, but you will make hundreds of new friends to herf with while you wait. Parking can be found easily if you get there by 10am, but it is about 1/4 to 1/2 mile hike to event area. If you plan on drinking, take the shuttle instead because the local law enforcement is just waiting around the event to catch law breakers. Shuttles run regularly and are reliable.
If they are running it like past years, there is plenty of free food and water all day long. Free beer samples too. Plan on spending $20 on raffle tickets to have a chance at the prizes. Plan on buying a cigar sampler or Xikar to get separate tickets for the really big prizes (Jeep, man-cave, etc.). Wear comfortable shoes, you will be standing all day. Take frequent breaks in the food tent. Pace yourself, this is a marathon. Bring a sharpie to get autographs. (Many guys bring their travel humidor to get autographed by all the manufacturers.) Spend time talking to these guys in the late afternoon when the lines are not long . . . they are a wealth of knowledge. However, if you want to talk with Jonathan Drew, plan on waiting in line 2-3 hours. Finally, if you are married, DON'T have your picture taken with any of the dozens of bikini clad cigar girls unless you want to have your wife pull the plug on your plans to attend the next year (did not happen to me, but has happened to a few guys on here)
Thanks Bruce! Lol My wife will be fine with the girlie pics. She's had to deal with other anime/comicon type events lol. I've found a campground that looks promising not far from a couple of the hotels, so if I don't figure something in the next day or two, I'm going to head there. I'm getting too old for the sleep in the car, change clothes and brush teeth at a McDonalds lifestyle anymore. I normally don't sleep past 6 o'clock anyway. Think they will chase me off if I'm sitting in their lot at 8:30-9?
I didn't think about the autographs! Damn I'm going to have to think about that one. Might just have to have people sign the Cigarfest humidor lol.
Headfirst, that would be a long trip for you... But you'll love the area. It is one of the prettier areas of Pennsylvania.
It's a hotel/resort so they won't chase you for being in the parking lot. I'd actually encourage you to get in the parking lot early. The local rooms for the Cigarfest get bumped up to prices above what they're worth and then you're forced to reserve for two nights. If you don't plan on getting drunk I'd suggest finding somewhere outside the immediate area for 1/2 the rate and then driving to Split Rock early in the morning and getting a parking space close enough so you can unload your swag off into your car as the day goes on. Because you should end up with a lot of stuff, too much to keep carrying all day.
As for the "models", you'll be able to tell quickly which vendors splurge on them and who takes whatever the "agency" sends them for a smaller price.