What originated as a casual cook-out competition on The Fly (the riverfront green space behind Audubon Zoo) has evolved into a full-blown, highly anticipated annual festival. However, Hogs for the Cause, which is happening on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at the UNO Lakefront Arena grounds (for the second year in a row) has always kept its mission on the front burner: a fundraising event for families of children battling pediatric brain cancer. Now celebrating its tenth year, Hogs for the Cause has a lot in store for this year’s festival.
As the festival grows each year, founders Rene Louapre and Becker Hall have added more competitive elements, live music, and local celebrity guest appearances. Currently, Hogs for the Cause operates as the premier funding source for pediatric brain cancer outreach services in the United States and has given grants to over 600 families in need, and has made financial contributions to children’s hospitals in New Orleans, South Carolina, and Atlanta.
“Hogs” has been named one of the Ten Best BBQ Festivals in the U.S. by Delish.com. Moreover, it’s one of the premier spring festivals in New Orleans. With two days-worth of family, food, fun, and fundraising, we know you’ll want to celebrate like a boss…hog.
Boss Hog Ways to Do Hogs for the Cause
Get into the spirit before the fest even begins. This year’s Thursday night Gala Dinner is themed “Hoggyshack” with inspiration from the iconic 80’s film Caddyshack. The event will take place on March 22 in the UNO Lakefront Arena and begins at 6:30pm with a cocktail hour. Dinner will follow with music, cocktails from CureCo, wines from Neat Wines, a silent auction packed with fantastic prizes, and some surprises are in store for attendees. Individual tickets are $200.
Friday night is Bacon Night. On March 23 from 3:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. you’ll have the chance to see some behind the scenes action as teams prepare their meats for Saturday’s competition. This year, in addition to BBQ samples, each team will honor the hog by creating their own unique bacon dish that will be available for sale. This new category will be judged, and hogtails, beer, wine, soft drinks, and food will also be available for purchase.
Feast your eyes — not just your stomach. Not a big eater? No problem. Part of the fun is watching the crowd and the judges pig-out on barbecue in the following categories: Ribs, Whole hog, Shoulder, Porkpourri, Sauce, Tabasco Best Sandwich, Nueske’s Best Bacon, and Blue Plate Side Dish. The competition begins on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. 85 teams of barbecue pros and avid home cooks assembled together is a sight in and of itself. You can also keep an eye out for pig puns aplenty — look for team names like Swineaux, The Pig Lebowski, Hupig’s Pies, Magnum PIG, and more.
Get sauced. Yes, there are plenty of adult beverages, but many of the teams make their own barbecue sauces, bottled and available for purchase. It’s also fun to organize a sauce-tasting and declare your own “best in sauce.”
Go strange. Each year teams are challenged to created combinations of flavors in a dish that falls into the Porkpourri category. One year, the winner was a magnificent pink, pig-faced, bacon and Steen’s cane syrup French macaron.
Pack hearty. You’re going to want to stick around at this fun fest, so pack your festival bag/backpack like you mean it (as in mean to stay for a while). A few ideas: blanket, towel, sunscreen, rain boots, hat, hairbands, hand wipes, and antacids.
Try a dish from the ‘Porkpourri’ category. One year, the winner was a magnificent pink, pig-faced, bacon and Steen’s cane syrup French macaron.
Dine and dance. There’s a lot of food out there, so think “Hogs for some weight loss” and make sure to get in a little booty-shaking between bites. With fantastic bands booked for the festival, this one is easy.
Go cashless with Hoggy Dollars. This year Hogs for the Cause will be using RFID wristbands, which can be loaded with Cash, Debit or Credit Cards. The RFID technology provides the ultimate convenience with faster transactions. The wristband serves as both ticket and payment systems.
Pig-stagram. Take lots and lots of pictures and organize your own competition to see who can post Instagram “pig-tures” that get the most “likes.” Feel free to use the hashtag #Hogsforthecause2018.
Vote. Yep, practice getting your voice heard by voting on your favorite foods and booth design.
Put the [pig] sty in stylin’. Purchasing commemorative merchandise (t-shirts, hats, and more) is just another way to support this awesome fundraiser.
Veg out. Actually, veg in! Despite the pig-centric menu, veggies are here. There are on-site vendors selling vegetarian fare.
Eat this! If last year’s event is anything to go by, there is a seemingly unlimited approach to the good ol’ pig.
Drink this! For its tenth anniversary, Hogs is welcoming Southern Eagle Distributing as its new beer partner, bringing Budweiser and Bud Light to the event. In addition, Hogs organizers will unveil a Craft Beer Hall, which will feature beers from Port Orleans Brewing Company, Gnarly Barley Brewing Company, Urban South Brewery, Parish Brewing Company, and more.
Tickets for this year’s Hogs for the Cause are available now.