Now in its ninth year, Hogs For The Cause is back this Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1 at its new location at the East Campus of the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena Grounds on Leon C. Simon Drive with an incredible line up of music, beverage, and barbecue from over 90 teams across America, and...parking! The festivities benefit the families of kids with pediatric brain cancer.
Hogs founders Rene Louapre and Becker Hall recently talked to Eater about what's new this year. Here's what to expect.
The New Stuff
This year, Hogs is at its new home at the UNO Lakefront Arena Grounds, which makes sense from a logistical standpoint. In addition to great parking, the new location is flat, drains well, has walkways and lots of ways to get in and out of the festival. This and a forecast for sun means that this year should be dry out at the fest grounds. So, maybe those shrimp boots can stay home. FYI: Hall wants to see more Rainbow flip flops and Birkenstocks at this year’s Hogs.
Hogs for the Cause is best enjoyed with a master plan and an early start. Some of the most coveted food items sell out early, which can happen while people are just starting to get their bearings. Enter the solution: Hoggy Hour. For $50, guests get a general admission ticket with early admission (2:30 pm on Friday; 10:30 am on Saturday) and free NOLA beer for that early admission hour. Loupre points out that this is a great way to get to the booths first and, with the free beer, it’s “great for the person who wants to rage.”
Loupre predicts that team food will ramp up this year in the new location, possibly “shooting into the next stratosphere.” Generally, teams keep their menus a secret. One thing they know for sure - those Hupigs Pies are coming back. Also, look for pub fare from across the world, says Loupre.
Look for tons of drink options this year. New to the festival is a killer bloody mary bar, inspired by Hall’s trip to idol Guy Fieri’s restaurant in Las Vegas, where he conducted “extreme garnish research.” He has a point - everything Fieri touches turns to pure gold, so why not replicate it? Expect bacon.
Bourbon lovers, rejoice! And look for the Pope’s Old Fashioned. The cocktail, made with Woodford Reserve, is named for Hogs for the Cause Hog of Fame Inductee, Jim Fein (and made to his specifications). Nicknamed “The Pope,” he’s been integral to the success of every Hogs to date. He’s the volunteer extraordinaire willing to go the extra mile. In 2015, he was tasked with making 10,000 jello shots, a job he did without breaking a sweat. This year, he’ll be handling the more genteel task of pouring the bourbon.
Thursday night, The Link Group and Hogs for the Cause present an almost sold-out Hawaiian luau-themed gala, including a tiki bar.
The News Stuff
The Times-Pic has a story on the next-level booth design at Hogs for the Cause 2017.
The Advocate's Ian McNulty reports that the new UNO Lakefront Arena location means a new layout. Instead of tucking the smaller teams in the back, they get more premium spots this year. The idea is that people will seek out the bigger teams’ booths, but they’ll pass the smaller booths on their way there. In Eater’s interview, Loupre describes this as “a more equitable layout.”
Single-day general admission tickets are $25/day.
Boss Hog tickets are $160 (Friday) - $210 (Saturday) with admission, re-entry, access to Boss Hog tent with open bar, private bathrooms, and private stage viewing area. Two-day Boss Hog tickets are $310.
Saturday Food Judge tickets are $50 and include a Saturday general admission ticket and a guarantee to judge a minimum of two food categories in the cook-off.
Hoggy Hour tickets score the holder in an hour early with free beer during that hour. They run $50 and can be purchased for Saturday or Sunday.
Food is sold via hoggy dollars, which you purchase at Hoggy Dollar Booths around the festival grounds.
Gates: Open Friday at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at 11:30 a.m. .
Music lineup includes Shovels & Rope, George Porter Jr., Railroad Earth and more great bands. Schedule here.
More FAQs right here.