Festival season in Nola kicks off to a robust start - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Festival season in Nola kicks off to a robust start

Hogs for the Cause 2016 Hogs for the Cause 2016

Beautiful weather Saturday helped draw out thousands of people to Hogs for the Cause and the Freret Street Festival. This weekend kicks off a busy fest season in New Orleans, one that's more robust than any previous year.

At City Park Saturday, 97 teams competed for the title of barbeque champion.

Eric Hunn, the team leader for Mr. Piggleworth says, “First year we came out, we had a great time doing it. Second year we came out we actually won the fan favorite award, which means we sold more food than any other team out here and we're trying to do that again this year.”

Hogs for the Cause raises money to provide grants for the families of children being treated for pediatric brain cancer.

Cabrina Colton, whose own daughter was treated for cancer, says, “No one understands what’s really going on and the last thing you want to worry about it finances so that help is just amazing.”

With 30,000 in attendance Saturday, it's one of the largest crowds for this event, in it's eighth year. Some attendees and even barbeque teams, come from across the country.

“It’s helping us spread the New Orleans brand around the country in a way that we couldn’t do on a regular basis,” New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp. CEO Mark Romig, said.

Romig says this weekend kicks off an incredibly busy festival season here.

“We have 131 permitted festivals in Orleans Parish,” Romig commented.

French Quarter Fest runs next weekend. Jazz Fest takes place two weeks after that. All of them, helping to keep local businesses thriving.

Romig explains, “It’s our way of bringing more spending into our community and into our state and those tax dollars staying in our state.”

Romig points out the success of once smaller events, like the Freret Street Festival, explaining Jazz Fest wrote the playbook on how to draw a crowd, with many vendors and event organizers, paying close attention.

“I seem to be doing better each year, this year being better than the year before,” vendor Holly Williams.

Mark Romig predicts the street festivals will continue to grow in size, benefiting not only attendees but the people whose livelihood depends on it.

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