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Coronavirus Concerns Shut Down New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, Hogs for the Cause

NOWFE, the New Orleans Bourbon Festival, and Hogs for the Cause have been postponed amid coronavirus fears

The Grand Tasting event from last year’s New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, now canceled
NOWFE/Official Photo

The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a five-day gathering of wine makers and enthusiasts, has been postponed due to concerns over the novel coronavirus epidemic.

NOWFE organizers announced the decision Wednesday, March 11, following Tuesday’s news that the city was canceling all large public events this weekend. Set to start March 18, NOWFE said in a statement that it was assessing options to reschedule later in 2020 “out of an abundance of caution and concern” for participants, adding that tickets would be honored for the new dates.

The festival, which has historically taken place later in the spring, draws around 7,000 people to tastings, seminars, parties, and wine dinners throughout New Orleans, according to NOLA.com. It also features the annual Culinary Awards, a competition that invites local restaurants to submit a dish to be considered by a group of judges.

After the City of New Orleans canceled all public events this weekend, the New Orleans Bourbon Festival announced it would postpone, followed by the Krewe of Red Beans canceling its annual Bean Madness, a series of competitive red beans tastings and block parties.

The event cancellations come amid calls for emergency sick pay, health care, and virus testing from the New Orleans Hospitality Workers’ Alliance, whose members gathered in city hall on Monday to confront Mayor LaToya Cantrell about the epidemic’s repercussions for the local hospitality industry. WWL reports that “in what was at times a heated exchange, Cantrell said there is little she can do because these are private business.”

Organizers of annual charity barbecue festival and competition Hogs for the Cause, scheduled to take place at the UNO Lakefront Arena on March 27 and 28, told Eater on Wednesday there was no news on the event but that they would provide updates as available.

UPDATE: March 11, 2020: Hogs for the Cause has canceled 2020’s event, saying that all tickets will be refunded immediately.

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