Once again the Encuentro de Amigos de Partagas has come and gone. After many years, the players may have changed but the show still goes on. This year the Noche de Bienvenida, or the first event of the Encuentro, took place as always at night but for a change the venue was not indoors but outside at one of the most beautiful squares in Old Havana, the Plaza de La Catedral. They took a chance on there being no rain and we were all blessed with the good fortune of it being a dry and very pleasant evening. No one knew what the backup plan was in case it did rain and we were all under the impression that there wasn't one. Thank God things turned out the way they did. It was an absolutely spectacular night and in my opinion the best event of the Encuentro, definitely the best of all the opening nights I've been to. You just have too look at the faces of the people who attended to see that everyone felt the same. The food wasn't bad either and by far much better than the dinner offered at the Gala the following Friday. The entertainment provided was the usual mix of dancers and music that kept us....well, entertained. Crowd participation is always part of every event and there was no lack of it on this evening as well. All in all it was very much worth the price of admission and always my favourite of the Encuentro events. This is the night when many of us see each other for the first time in a year and catch up on what has been happening in our lives in the past while. Cigars were in abundance and it seemed like more were given out this year than in the past. Just the price of the cigars covers the cost of the ticket. If you ever decide to attend only one these events, I suggest this is the one to partake in, you certainly get your money's worth. I hope you enjoy the pictures. A few of my readers are in some of the photos and I hope the memories put a smile on their faces.