I Love BBQ Festival donates $25k to youth center

Luke Darnell, of the Old Virginia Smoke team from Bristow, Virginia, prepares a pork entry for the Kansas City Barbeque Society competition Sunday, July 7 during the I Love BBQ and Music Festival at the Olympic Speedskating Oval. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — At the end of the recent 14th annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival, USA Luge turned over approximately $25,000 to the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid.

The beneficiary uses the funds to support children’s programs. It’s the center’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

The Lake Placid-based sport governing body organizes the annual event to provide needed funds for local youth programs. USA Luge Marketing Manager Dmitry Feld leads this effort.

Other than Saturday of festival weekend, the weather was cooperative for the multitude of attractions, competitions and eating.

“Rain on Saturday definitely affected people coming through the gate as we had to cancel the Strongman truck pull and both of the BMX Krusher Stunt Team shows,” Feld said. “With all this, $25,000 is a great amount to raise. Our goal was to raise no less than $25,000. Our $100 raffle helped a lot. It provided $11,500 plus gate receipts of $14,000.”

The 2019 edition of the festival, held again on the historic Olympic Speedskating Oval, offered live music acts, many longstanding events and vendors. Organizers reported that the debut of the Strongman Invitational, featuring men and women, was well received.

A popular event on Saturday was the annual Best Ribs in the East, where patrons could purchase the creations of the competitive teams.

“We anticipate that all these festival activities will be back next year,” Feld said. “We had super efforts from our volunteers, and our long list of sponsors really showed their generosity.”

The 14-year fundraising total now stands at $290,000 for the Shipman Youth Center.

“Already, I’m getting messages from judges for next year’s event,” Feld said. “They wanted to be the first to sign up. This is amazing.”