Hogs for the Cause is back for 2018, and as expected it is bigger and promises to be better than ever.

I have written about Hogs for the Cause from its inception as a small pig-roast at the Fly. I am aware that I bring that up every year, but only because it remains true. It’s gone from a small event where most of the people attending were friends of founders Renee Louapre and Becker Hall to one of the most successful fund-raising events in town. I would love to tell you I foresaw the success of the event back in the day, but I did not. The phenomenal growth of the event has to do with the cause – support for families going through treatment for pediatric brain cancer – and a lot to do with Hall and Louapre, too. 

I will be judging again this year, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of the best food-centric events we have. The food is always outstanding and every year they seem to get outstanding musicians to play. The weather has not always been kind, but this year it looks like things are going to work out.

The event starts Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. with 85 teams preparing dishes involving bacon. You can find a list of the music on offer as well as the dishes each team is preparing here.

Saturday is the big event. There’s a list of the teams here, but what’s important to know is that in addition to some very skilled amateurs, a lot of local chefs are involved and there are competition barbecue teams that come from all over to take part in the event. The result is that the food is very, very good. It’s almost too good, to be honest, because unless you are a judge you won’t get to taste more than a dozen or so things and I promise you, you’ll regret not getting to try at least something.

My advice is to go with a big group and then share, so that you get at least a taste of as many different things as you can. You can always go back to a booth if you really dig the food. I would also recommend you keep an open mind, because while over the years there have been some very questionable dishes presented in the “pork-pourri” category, some plates that didn’t seem palatable in that category turned out to be the best bites I tried.

I will be wandering around the UNO fairgrounds site on Saturday for sure, and hopefully on Friday evening as well. Please feel free to say hello if we cross paths, and by all means enjoy the event. I know I will.