Date: March 31, 2022
Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
Location: J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

Experience living history at Tampa’s last operating cigar factory.

Join J.C. Newman Cigar Company as we celebrate the birthday of our El Reloj cigar factory with a living history presentation. This unique luncheon will allow guests to experience the legacy of “El Lector,” the iconic storytellers of Tampa’s past.

The lector was an educational institution for the workingmen of Ybor City from 1886 to 1931. The lectors themselves, men such as José Dolores Poyo (a biographer and friend of the Cuban national hero José Martí) or Victoriano Manteiga (founder of the trilingual La Gaceta newspaper in Ybor City), read everything from Spanish Golden Age classic literature to local baseball scores for an illiterate constituency which labored all the while.

From the reconstructed lector stage in their handmade cigar factory, the Newman Family will host prestigious guest lectors to honor the cigar city tradition.

A cuban-style lunch will be provided for each guest to enjoy during the historic presentation.

Featured Lectors;

  • Richard Gonzmart

The fourth-generation “caretaker” of the Columbia Restaurant Group, Richard Gonzmart has been named – as part of more than 100 awards – Community Hero by the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He also has been officially named a Luminary, a Visionary and a Philanthropist of the Year as well as Father of the Year, Hispanic Man of the Year, Businessman of the Year, Alumni of the Year at Jesuit and Academy of the Holy Names, Outstanding Citizen of the Year and Tampa Police Citizen of the Year. Richard’s great-grandfather started the world-famous Columbia Restaurant in Tampa’s historic Ybor City in 1905. Still 100 percent family-owned, it’s now the oldest restaurant in Florida.

  • Donna Parrino
Donna Piñero Parrino is a fourth-generation native of Ybor City and an advocate of Education. During her thirty-three-year career at USF, she led efforts to increase and include Latinos at all levels of the institution from students to university
  • Noel Smith

Noel Marie Smith is a translator, visual arts curator, and arts administrator. A third-generation Tampa native, she is proud of her Asturian heritage. Among many other published literary and art historical texts, Smith is the translator of Tampa: Impressions of an Emigrant, by Wenceslao Gálvez, written in 1897 in Ybor City (University Press of Florida, 2020). She recently retired as Deputy Director of USF Graphicstudio and the Contemporary Art Museum, where she curated many exhibitions of Latin American and Caribbean contemporary art, with a specialty in Cuban art and culture.

  • Maura Barrios

Maura Barrios’ family followed the Cuban cigar-maker route from Havana to Key West to Tampa.  She grew up in West Tampa’s Cuban cigar-worker community.  Maura earned a Master’s degree in Latin American History from USF where she was employed for 20 years.  She has presented research focused on Tampa-Cuba history at several events. She retired from USF History Department in 2014.

  • Anthony Carreño

Tony Carreño, a Tampa native with Spanish and Sicilian roots, has been engaged in preserving Tampa’s cultural heritage for more than four decades. In the past few years, as a member of the Board of Directors of Centro Español de Tampa, he has been instrumental in the production of two documentary films about Tampa’s Spanish immigrant community. Carreño has provided knowledgeable “guided tours” to Asturias for Tampa locals to further their knowledge and appreciation of this unique history. Carreño is a former trustee and current member of the Ybor City Museum Society.

  • Mario Núñez

Mario Núñez is a  proud fourth generation Tampeño.  His Great Grandparents followed the tobacco leaf’s migratory route from Cuba to Key West to “Mr. Ybor’s City.”  Many of them worked right here at “El Reloj” in the early part of the 20th century. After an exciting 30 year career as an American Airlines international flight attendant, Mario launched a second career as a producer of media content.  While traveling extensively throughout the western hemisphere and western Europe, the experience left him with the desire to research his hometown history.