The Crystal Bay Casino will blend Southern cuisine and rock with philanthropy on Aug. 25 and 26 for the second annual Hogs for the Cause fundraiser. The two-day event — which is paired with the New Orleans-based nonprofit of the same name — will bring a Louisiana-inspired barbecue and music event to the CBC to benefit children diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer and their families.
Last year’s event raised $20,000.
“I think cancer is something that affects everybody,” Bill Wood, general manager of the CBC, said. “And it’s anything we can do to make it easier.”
The event — originally a New Orleans benefit and barbecue competition — will feature four highly ranked New Orleans chefs, Muddy Magnolia, a Nashville-based rock band, California-based bands New Monsoon and Afrolicious, a gala, and a silent auction supported by local businesses.
The fundraiser will begin Friday, Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. with the Hogs for the Cause gala at the CBC Steak & Lobster House, where a team of celebrity chefs from New Orleans, who call themselves Silence Of The Hams, will prepare a signature course. The stars are Mike Brewer, voted Seafood King of Louisiana in 2015; Chris Montero, executive chef at Napoleon House; Tory McPhail, executive chef at Chambers Palace; and Jared Ralls, executive chef at La Boca. They will also prepare Saturday’s barbecue.
“We are lucky to have these guys come help us,” Wood said. “If we had to pay celebrity chef fees, we could never afford it. They are doing it for Hogs for the Cause.”
To complement the feast, Meyer Family Wines of Yorkville, Calif., will be donating wines for the gala dinner. There will also be a raffle, and. following the Southern theme, the CBC will host the Muddy Magnolias after the gala.
The event will continue Saturday morning on the back patio of the CBC with a silent auction of an assortment of gifts donated by local businesses. While the silent auction is taking place, the chefs will be preparing a Cochon de Lait (overnight-smoked marinated pig served on po boy rolls, a famous feast at New Orleans Jazz Fest).
After the barbecue, there will be a blues band playing (open to all ages) with New Monsoon and Afrolicious in the Crown Room following in the evening.
In 2009, Hogs for the Cause began in New Orleans as a benefit for a boy named Ben Sarrat who had been diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer. The first year, the event brought 200 people together, raising $20,000. It now takes place annually.
In nine years, the nonprofit has attracted more than 250,000 people, raising more than $1.3 million — with all the funds donated to help children with pediatric brain cancer. Pairing with Wood and the CBC, the hopes are to keep bringing this Southern benefit to the West.
Ultimately, the idea is to make this an annual community event, mirroring its New Orleans counterpart.