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Limited tickets expected to go fast for New Orleans festivals setting new dates

Hogs for the Cause announced summer Hogsfest 2021 dates
Festivals return in limited capacity as COVID-19 restrictions are eased
Festivals return in limited capacity as COVID-19 restrictions are eased(fox 8)
Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 10:20 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - More popular New Orleans festivals are setting sights on the summer.

It was a devastating decision, cancelling Hogsfest 2020, but exactly one year after that announcement Hogs for the Cause Co-Founder Rene Louapre has much better news.

“We thought with the vaccine rollout, with the way the numbers have been trending, this could be our first possibility to do it,” Louapre said.

In order to hold the festival this year on June 4 and 5, Louapre has been working closely with local health partners and the State to come up with a COVID safe plan, including shipping out wristbands to cut down on lines.

“Your wristband will be not only your way in your ticket, it’s also your digital wallet, so you’ll be able to pay with things with your wristband and that decreases kind of the exchange of money,” Louapre said.

The pediatric brain cancer fundraiser usually draws 25,000 to 30,000 people to the UNO Lakefront Arena, which is currently being used for COVID testing.

This year it will be held at the Plaquemines Parish Government site in Belle Chase and crowds will be capped under the 50-percent capacity allowed by the state.

“Currently we’re only selling 5,000 tickets a day, so we want our folks to feel safe, we want them to feel secure,” Louapre said. “We know the first event everyone’s gonna be a little bit nervous. We want you to feel safe.”

Hogsfest isn’t the only one keeping things small, the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, now set for June 9 through the 13, normally brings in around 10,000 people.

“This year we’re gonna have about a quarter of that, purposefully,” Aimee Brown said. “We want to make sure it’s safe, socially distanced, seated events and so that’s the capacity that we can have, so we have very limited tickets.”

Brown, the Executive Director, says it wasn’t difficult for them to come up with plans either, working with restaurants to host smaller events all year. The biggest change will be food and drinks brought to tables instead of people walking around.

“We would normally have just two grand tastings at 900 people each,” Brown explained. “This year? No way. It’s going to be about 250 people, but we’ve added in additional events.”

If things change for better or for worse both organizers say they’re ready to roll with it in real time.

“We’re always going with our plan A, be prepared,” Brown said. “How I run my events are act as if it’s happening tomorrow. That’s how we can ensure that they’re going to be safe.”

Louapre says the community interest is definitely there. Hogs for the Cause sold over 1,000 tickets in one day, a record for the organization.

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