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Food, music fest to be named after Dmitry Feld

I Love BBQ and Music Festival organizer Dmitry Feld, left, poses with Shipman Youth Center board member Adam Wild during the 2023 festival. (Enterprise photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — The Shipman Youth Center Board of Directors met Tuesday, June 4 to discuss transforming the longtime I Love BBQ and Music Festival — a three-day event — into a trimmed down single-day event this summer that would still include food and music.

They also decided to change the name of the event to honor the memory of the festival’s lead organizer and former Shipman Youth Center Board of Directors President Dmitry Feld, who died in January at the age of 68.

“We’re not doing a barbecue fest this year,” current Shipman Youth Center Board of Directors President Michael Durham said at the meeting. “We’re going to have something a little more local.”

In the past, the barbecue festival had been organized by USA Luge officials — specifically Feld, the marketing manager, and Gordy Sheer, the sponsorship and marketing director. Sheer took care of the music, and Feld took care of most everything else, especially the food.

Last year was the barbecue festival’s 17th year. Originally held at the Olympic Speedskating Oval on Main Street around the Fourth of July holiday, it was moved to the North Elba Show Grounds on Labor Day weekend after the coronavirus pandemic.

Barbecue teams from the United States and Canada traveled to Lake Placid to compete in the I Love BBQ and Music Festival, as this event was sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. For a time, there was also a competition through the Northeast Barbecue Society. Teams vied for titles in four main KCBS categories — chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket — and in the barbecue and hot sauce competition. KCBS judges also came from around the U.S. and Canada, making the event part of their summer vacation. Visitors could sample the teams’ barbecue in the buck-a-rib and pulled pork contests. Last year, Feld said he was hoping to swap out the pulled pork competition for a chicken wing competition among the teams, as he thought that would draw more people to the event.

Over the years, musicians from around the region were highlighted throughout the three days under a big tent, where visitors could eat and enjoy the music.

Every year, Feld added more attractions to lure residents and visitors to the festival. The more people who showed up, the more they could raise to support local children; the I Love BBQ and Music Festival was the largest fundraiser of the year for the Shipman Youth Center. Over the years, Feld added BMX bike performances from the Krusher team in Canada, professional wrestling, children’s activities, a cornhole tournament, demonstrations from the Paul Smith’s College Woodmen’s Team and top chef demonstrations from barbecue pit masters. For a time, there was also a children’s cooking competition.

Shipman Youth Center board members are honoring Feld by changing the name of the event to Dmitry’s Feast of the Peaks and Music Festival. They want to keep food, music and special attractions while raising as much money as possible. On Tuesday, they settled on Saturday, Aug. 31 as the date — Labor Day weekend — although they had been open to changing the day to another weekend in August.

“I vote for Labor Day (weekend) because everybody’s expecting it to be there on Labor Day,” said Jim Cushman, who has been helping out with the music for the festival for many years as the sound engineer. “It won’t be the (BBQ) festival, but the event will still be there.”

The event is expected to be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the North Elba Show Grounds. Instead of having musicians play in a large tent, they are expected to be playing in the show grounds pavilion.

“We’re really positive about this,” Durham said Wednesday. “We’re hoping to make this a go.”

There will not be a barbecue competition; however, local restaurants will be asked to compete in three food categories — appetizer, entree and dessert. They would sell samples to visitors, who will vote on their favorites. It is also expected that beer manufacturers in the region will be asked to take part in a “best beer” competition.

Organizers are looking for food and drink vendors, children’s games and activities, and nonprofit groups from the community to have a table. They are also hoping to have professional wrestling, cornhole and the Paul Smith’s College Woodsmen’s Team back at this one-day event.

The raffle will return to help raise money for the Shipman Youth Center. There won’t be an admission fee at the gate as there has been in previous years; instead, visitors will be asked to make a donation per vehicle. And vendors will be asked to give a percentage of their proceeds as a donation.

While a lot of the details are yet to be finalized, Sheer said he is looking forward to helping out with the music again.

“USA Luge is here and ready to serve,” he said Wednesday.

Durham told the Lake Placid News in February that the Shipman Youth Center has operational costs of about $100,000 each year. The barbecue festival raised about $20,000 annually and more than $350,000 in 17 years.

To donate or volunteer, contact Durham at 518-524-5657 or the youth center’s executive director, Jason Hooker, at 518-523-8786. Learn more at www.shipmanyouthcenter.org.

The youth center is located on Cummings Road near the Lake Placid Middle-High School. It was named after Thomas Shipman, the Lake Placid Police Department’s first juvenile officer. After he died in 1995, community members raised money to construct the building to honor his legacy. The center — “created to provide a safe place for the kids of the community to mature in a stable environment while providing both direct and indirect guidance for youthful activities” — serves students from ages 10 to 18.

As the youth center was created to celebrate the memory of Thomas Shipman, Durham said now it’s time to honor Feld’s commitment to the youth of Lake Placid by continuing to host a summer fundraising event.

“We need to make sure it succeeds in Dmitry’s name, keeping his legacy going forward,” he said.

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