What started out as a fundraiser for the local animal shelter has turned into a huge beer-tasting event that will take over the City Park Festival Grounds Saturday afternoon.

More than 400 beers and food along with live music are the highlight of NOLA on Tap, now the Louisiana SPCA's largest fundraiser, said Dean Howard, LASPCA development director and event co-founder.

Local, regional and national breweries will participate in the dog-friendly beer bash. It’s set up so people can easily find the beers they prefer.  For example, the home-brewers, which are situated in small booths, are located in the same area.

“They're sort of lined up so that you can follow through and make sure that you get tastings of each one of those,” Howard said.

Three competitions allow a panel of professional judges and fest-goers to vote for their favorite beer and booth.

Wine and margaritas will also be for sale.

As for food, NOLA on Tap features popular vendors from the festival circuit, like Miss Linda, The Yakamein Lady and Crêpes à la Cart, along with a few surprises.

Apolline will serve boudin balls and chargrilled oysters, and The Velvet Cactus will dish up their signature tacos, along with jambalaya.

Other menu items include savory treats from Trilly Cheesesteaks, juicy sausage-based creations from Dat Dog, and po-boys with an Asian twist from Ajun Cajun.

“I'm always surprised by the food vendors that really want to participate at NOLA on Tap, because it takes it a step up from just your regular festival food,” Howard said. 

The event is sponsored by Port Orleans Brewing Company. Admission is $5. Food and drink tickets will be sold at the entrance and around the grounds.

Live entertainment will include sets by Miss Mojo, The Breton Sound, and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes.

But NOLA on Tap is really all about dogs, who are welcome (on a leash). Canine Connection’s Barktoberfest tent is the site of dog costume contests and games.

There's even a kind of "speed dating" for dogs: Pups and their humans do brief “meet and greets." If pairs seem compatible, they can coordinate a future play date.

The LASPCA, along with a few other animal rescue groups, will be at the festival with adoptable dogs. The organization has recently been in the spotlight for helping animals displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“The great thing about this event is the timing. It's coming at the tail end of hurricane season,” said Howard, explaining how the funds raised at the festival will help cover transportation costs and other expenses associated with their rescue efforts.

There's still time to sign up as a festival volunteer.

“The (festival) brings together such a huge demographic of people and lets them see the mission in action with all the animals out there,” he said. “It's a perfect opportunity to have a cornucopia of beer at your fingertips, for tasting with close friends, but at the same time it benefits our four-legged friends.”


NOLA on Tap

Presented by The Bulldog and Louisiana SPCA

WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 7 p.m. (VIP hour is from 11 a.m. to noon)

WHERE: New Orleans City Park Festival Grounds

GENERAL ADMISSION: $5 (cost of ticket packages available at nolaontap.org