The annual Barbecue and music festival Hogs for the Cause (www.hogsforthecause.org) is at the UNO Lakefront Arena grounds (6801 Franklin Ave.) March 23-24.
The festival's main event is Saturday, March 24, when 85 teams of veteran pitmasters and backyard barbecuers compete for the Ben Sarrat Jr. High on the Hog Cook-Off Grand Championship title as well as in categories of whole hog, ribs, pork butt/shoulder and "porkpourri," which highlights creative pork dishes. Other awards recognize the best sauce, best side dish, best sandwich, best bacon dish, top fundraiser, best Friday night party, fan favorite and more.
This year, Friday night highlights bacon–inspired dishes, which include Captain Porkenheimer's bacon and pulled pork macaroni and cheese, Hoggystyle's Buffalo bacon mofongo boulettes and March of the Pigs' tandoori bacon and paneer samosas.
Musical performers include North Mississippi Osborne, The SteelDrivers, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Turnpike Troubadours, Son Little, Tyler Childers and others.
A fundraising gala on Thursday, March 22 is called Hoggyshack, inspired by the 1980 comedy Caddyshack. The dinner is by chefs from the Link Restaurant Group, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman of Josephine Estelle, Mason Hereford of Turkey and the Wolf and Marcus Jacobs of Marjie's Grill. Drinks are from Cure Co. and Neat Wines. Tickets are $200 per person.
Festival ticket prices range from $25 for single-day admission to $349 for two-day Boss Hog passes, which include access to the Boss Hog tent with an open bar, private restrooms, private stage viewing and $90 toward food and drink. The festival is cashless this year, and attendees can purchase food and drink via RFID wristbands.
The festival raises money to support families with children fighting pediatric brain cancer. Last year's event drew roughly 30,000 people and raised more than $1.3 million.