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ILBBQF cooks up support for youth

"This is one of the great venues," said KCBS board member Linda Mullane. "Because it's Lake Placid, everybody wants to come here."

This year's festival also saw the advent of the I Love Barbecue Junior World Championships, the first KCBS-sanctioned competition specifically for youth. Mullane said it was successful, despite only having four teams competing.

"We've never had anything like this before, and we hope it's going to grow and expand to other cities," Mullane said.

Youth age 16-21 teamed up with friends to cook a complete meal, barbecuing all three meats as well as a vegetable and starch. They also had to assemble a dessert.

"It was hard because you had to make things that weren't really meant to be made on a grill, like rice pilaf or potatoes," said Nick Zonfrillo, a 17-year-old competitor from Rhode Island.

Not only could youth compete for cash prizes, but also for scholarships to Paul Smith's College, a school highly regarded for its Culinary Arts program.

"Having them offer the scholarship is really cool," said Nick's father, Paul Zonfrillo. "It's a great way for the college to find some culinary talent."

As always, the festival had a constant stream of live music including several local and regional bands. Legendary zydeco artist C.J. Chenier headlined the event.

"C.J. was a big draw this year," said Gordy Sheer, who organizes entertainment for the event together with Jim Cushman. "We try to do one or two nationally touring bands each year."

Sheer and Cushman volunteer weekly at the Shipman Youth Center, helping lead youth in Monday night jam sessions. Several of the youth performed as a band at the festival.

"The rain put a lot of pressure on everybody," said Sheer, noting the hard work it took to keep sound equipment dry and operational. "It only gets done because we care about the Shipman Youth Center."

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