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Cigar event at Wildfox has hazy future

THIS YEAR'S ANNUAL Cuban Night could be the last for the Novato bistro Wildfox as a tough new anti-smoking ordinance takes effect in the city.

The popular Latin banquet, which features a live Cuban band, a mojito bar and hand-rolled cigars, draws more than 200 people each year and has become a tradition for many aficionados.

On Monday night, the event's sixth year, it was unclear whether there would be a seventh.

Wildfox owner Munther Massarweh said it was possible a private function might be exempt, but said he was unsure if the party would go on.

"We will comply with whatever the ordinance is," he said.

City officials did not return calls for comment.

In April, the city adopted the county's strictest smoking ban, which declares cigarette smoke a public nuisance in areas where people live, including apartments, group homes and places such as skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.

It also bans smoking in places selling food or drink and in public areas such as bus stops, automatic teller machines, parks and entertainment events.

The ban is set to go into effect next month. Violators will face $100 to $500 fines and five to 15 days of community service.

In 2006, the Marin Board of Supervisors adopted a smoking ordinance that bans smoking within 20 feet of indoor and outdoor workplaces, including bars, restaurants and construction sites in unincorporated areas. Last year, the Ross Town Council shot down a proposal that would have made smoking a legal "nuisance" if neighbors complained.

Monday's party was the third for Grant Avenue business owner Larry Harrison.

"It's just nice being around cigar smokers," said the Novato resident, puffing away cheerfully on a stogie.

"I think it's an intrusion," he said of the new law.

First-timers Dawn Lyons and Michael Macedonio said they didn't see the harm.

"It's exclusively cigar smoke - you're not worried about offending people," Macedonio said. "These people came here for this."

"All the people who are here have a love for the same thing," Lyons said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Cigar event at Wildfox has hazy future