Pig-Pickin’ It Up A Notch
5th Annual Hogs for the Cause increases venue size, amenities and events to bring home more bacon this year
New Orleans, Louisiana – Set for March 22-23, 2013, Hogs for the Cause is an annual finger-lickin’ fundraising festival featuring a pork BBQ cook-off and plenty of live music. The purpose is to provide aid and relief of those variable expenses and economic burdens which families face while their child is being treated for pediatric brain cancer. 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 40 families in need.
Although it began as a whim for childhood friends/founders Rene Louapre and Becker Hall to gather friends and family for a pig roast in the park– their plan quickly changed when they met a young boy named Ben Sarrat, Jr. In 2008, the four-year-old was diagnosed with a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, an incurable form of brain cancer. After hearing his story and witnessing his strength and courage, the duo decided to use the pig roast as a way to raise money for Ben and his family. Tragically, Ben lost his battle a week before Hogs for the Cause 2010. But Hall and Louapre became more determined to help the families struggling with the financial burdens associated with pediatric brain cancer, while continuing to honor their young hero.
“With a lot of people’s help, we stumbled onto a great idea,” says Louapre. “The first successful event welcomed 250 people, last year we had 12,000 people join us to help raise money for the fight against pediatric brain cancer. In 2013, we are moving to a larger locale so even more people can join the fight.”
This year, Hogs for the Cause will move to the festival grounds at New Orleans’ historic City Park to accommodate the burgeoning crowds of approximately 30,000 people and the anticipated 80 teams of BBQ competitors. The teams are comprised of a mix of some of the region’s top chefs; professional BBQ teams and backyard cooking fanatics. The competition culminates with the award of the Ben Sarrat, Jr. “High on the Hog” Grand Champion Title. The Champion is pulled from the winners of the Whole Hog; Ribs; Pork Butt/Shoulder; and Porkpourri (Anything Pork) divisions. There are also awards for Best Sauce, Fundraising Champion and the patron’s pick for Fan Favorite. Patrons may sample food from every team for nominal donations.
‘Hogs’ has also opened up its timeline to include Friday evening, when the festival grounds will be open to the public creating a “Tailgate” type atmosphere and serve as the backdrop for a Southern Asado dinner featuring members of the Fatback Collective. The Fatback Collective is a touring group of southern chefs who have compiled numerous accolades and awards in restaurants across the South, but who also take the most pleasure in cooking outdoors. All the proteins, vegetables, and desserts at this dinner will be cooked whole and over an open fire in the tradition of an Argentinian Asado. Music, cocktails, a silent auction packed with fantastic prizes, and some surprises are in store for attendees.
The expanded 2013 festival will also feature 2 main music stages and one music tent playing host to 8-10 bands; the addition of ‘Hogtails’ to the adult beverage roster– a take on popular festival cocktails; and ample parking opportunities.
What: Hogs for the Cause – A fundraising festival featuring many teams competing in the Ben Sarrat, Jr. “High on the Hog” pork cook-off as well as a plethora of fantastic bands performing live.
Where: City “Pork” Festival Grounds – City Park, New Orleans, Louisiana
When: March 22-23, 2013
Friday March 22nd – Gates open to the public at 4 pm. At 6 pm, five of New Orleans’ top bartenders will begin serving the five Hogtail finalists. At 6:30 pm the Southern Asado gets under way with Champagne, Cocktails, and a Raw Bar under the stately Oaks of City Park. The party continues with live music on the main stage beginning at 7:30 pm.
Saturday March 23rd– Gates open to the public at 11 am. The first musical act begins at 11:30 am. At 12 pm, public sampling begins as the 80 BBQ teams compete to see who can raise the most money. At 1 pm judging gets underway in the four main categories: Whole Hog, Butt/Shoulder, Porkpourri, and Ribs. At 6 pm, its trophy time and we will welcome our headliner to the stage at 7:30 pm.
Participating Chefs: Donald Link; Stephen Stryjewski; Justin Devillier; Bart Bell; Aaron Burgau; Shane Pritchett; Allison and Slade Rushing; Rene Bajeaux; Mark Quitney; Jason Brady; Michael Stoltzfus; Adam Biderman; Brack May; Michael Ruoss; Emeril’s Culinary Team; Rob Bechtold; Brad McGehee and members of The Fatback Collective.