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SAVOR THE SEASON: I Love BBQ & Music Festival returns to Lake Placid July 5-7

June 21, 2019
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Planning continues for the annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival, set for July 5-7 at the Olympic Speedskating Oval, but some of the competitions are not yet finalized.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Shipman Youth Center and features barbecue teams from the U.S. and Canada competing mainly in the Northeast Barbecue Society's Grilling and BBQ Bash on Friday and Kansas City Barbeque Society's contest on Sunday.

Deadlines for signing up for the kids' competitions and North American BBQ Brawl are set for later this month, so it's not clear whether they will be held. The barbecue sauce and hot sauce competitions will go on as planned.

Article Photos

I Love BBQ and Music Festival organizer Dmitry Feld, left, eats a pork rib while posing with competition cook Cameron Symonds at the event on July 7, 2018.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

Last year, the festival successfully held the BBQ Brawl for the first time - pitting the U.S. against Canada - and the Canadians won. The competition has a similar format to the Food Network TV show "Chopped" in that teams - three from the U.S. and three from Canada - were given boxes with mystery ingredients for an entree and a dessert. Last year, they were given duck, rabbit, yucca, scallions and garlic for the entree and sweet potatoes, birch syrup, chocolate, salty pretzels and strawberries for dessert. Scores for each nation's teams were combined, and the highest score won.

Festival organizer Dmitry Feld said teams this year seem to be intimidated by the contest, and many want to simply compete in the bigger competitions with more prize money.

"I'm having a hard time convincing people to compete because they're in that mode," Feld said. "'I only want to do ribs, brisket, chicken, pulled pork, but if I have to do rabbit, my feet will start shaking and I'm so afraid. I don't know how I'm going to do it.'"

The NEBS competition has four categories: New York strip steak, fatty sausage, pizza and chicken. The KCBS competition - the state championships - also has four categories: pork ribs, brisket, chicken and pulled pork.

Educating the public about the competition continues to be a challenge, especially when spectators begin to salivate with the smell of smoked meat in the air.

"I always try to explain, 'The teams come here to compete. They're not here to feed you.' That's why we do the Best Ribs in the East on Saturday," Feld said.

The Best Ribs in the East contest is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, and it will allow the public to sample ribs for $2 each.

"You can go from team to team and try as many as you want," Feld said.

For hungry festival-goers, there will be two barbecue concession stands, possibly three, during the entire festival.

"We're trying to accommodate the public as much as we can," Feld said.

The festival will also include music, children's activities, arts and crafts, vendors, food demonstrations, and the Krusher Stunt Team Free Style BMX bike show. New this year will be the Strongman Invitational, a United States Strongman event organized by John Cerruti and Phil Brown.

Organized by USA Luge as a means of giving back to its community, the I Love BBQ and Music Festival will provide needed funding for the nearby Shipman Youth Center. Feld said he expects up to 40 teams to compete this year.

Daily admission on the Olympic Oval is $7 per adult, and includes free admission for children to the inflatable area. There is a $5 charge for youngsters to climb the Coconut Tree. Youngsters under 10 will be admitted free of charge. The festival is alcohol and tobacco-free.

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