LAKE PLACID - One of Lake Placid's most popular annual events promises to bring great summertime food and fun while supporting an important cause.
The fifth annual I Love Barbecue Festival will return to the Lake Placid Speedskating Oval July 2-4, featuring live music, celebrity appearances, children's rides and games, and, of course, plenty of tasty grilled meat.
Proceeds from the three-day food fest benefit the Shipman Youth Center of Lake Placid, a not-for-profit community organization providing support to children and youth ages 10-18. Through its first four years, the festival has raised nearly $75,000 for the Shipman center.
"It is our biggest and most significant fundraiser, by far," said Jon Fremante, executive director of the Shipman Youth Center. "The money is spent on supplies, after school sports, art programs, movies, bowling, dinners and more."
Despite a weekend of rainy weather, at least 7,000 people attended last year's ILBBQF, raising more than $15,000 for the youth center.
Approximately 15 to 20 Shipman youth center attendees help with the festival, selling food and soda and working the children's attractions.
"Last year's event brought 35 Kansas City Barbecue Society and four Junior World BBQ Championships teams to Lake Placid," said ILBBQF and ILBJWC director of operations Dmitry Feld, "and we expect to grow again this year."
More than 40 teams are expected to participate in this year's three-day festival competing for cash prizes and the title of New York State Barbecue Champion in four separate categories: chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket.
The $1,000 High Peaks Ford Midnight Grillin' Bash, now an approved New England Barbecue Society competition, kicks off the three-day festival Friday night with food demonstrations by competing chefs and barbeque pit masters.
Among the teams competing is the 2006 and 2009 ILBBQF grand champion, "I Smell Smoke," from Fitzwilliam, N.H.