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Major Fundraising Festival Brings BBQ, Music, Wrestling & More to Lake Placid

Stay tuned for the 2024 dates!

The I Love BBQ & Music Festival in Lake Placid, NY, started out with 16 barbecue teams competing in 2005, and has now grown to four dozen teams. This major fundraising event has raised more than $350,000 over the years for Lake Placid’s Shipman Youth Center, and they’re not stopping there.

Please note, this article is from 2023, but gives a good indication of what to expect at the annual festival. 

image split in three of barbecue on the grill, man eating barbecue, and barbecue trophies

Keep reading to check out what's happening for 2023, including a new competition and two new exciting events! Plus, read up on why the Shipman Youth Center, which receives 100% of festival proceeds, is such a great cause to support.

Get a Rundown of the Highlights

people at a BBQ festival

"We are expecting 40 professional barbecue teams from around the country and abroad to attend," said Dmitry Feld, Chief Organizer of the festival, President of the Shipman Youth Center, and Marketing Manager for USA Luge.

There are multiple competitions taking place throughout the festival, with the primary contest being those 40 teams competing to win the title of Grand Champion. The competition is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), the world's largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts.

Festival fans can also look forward to the return of Buck-A-Rib, the most popular event at the festival. This is a public tasting event, with ribs prepared by competitive teams. Pay $1 per rib to get in on the tasting and judging!

split image. on left is crowd of people at festival. on right is stunt bikers getting ready to perform.

In addition, there will be live music from multiple bands, kids activities, arts and crafts, a vendor expo, food demonstrations, food tastings, Krusher Stunt Team Free Style BMX Bike Shows, and professional wrestling shows with celebrity appearances.

Be Ready to Experience Professional Wrestling

wrestling show at the festival

In 2021, the festival introduced professional wrestling for the first time. When Feld read about Performance Arts Connection (PAC) raising money for a school in Moriah, NY, he knew he wanted this organization to be a part of the festival; PAC is a nonprofit that specializes in action wrestling shows to support various needs of the community.

The addition of wrestling to the festival proved successful, so the group is returning again this year, and they're bringing a few wrestling stars with them: Crusher Bigelow (Hardcore Iron), Scrap Iron (The Iron Man of PAC), and more!

You can expect a kid-friendly, family-focused wrestling show from PAC, which by the way, does not accept compensation for the shows the group does. "We've done similar events to this dating back to 2010," PAC wrestler Justin Gaddor told us. PAC has performed at fundraisers for causes like a food pantry, Toys for Tots, cancer, cystic fibrosis, and suicide awareness. 

For more on what to anticipate from the exciting performance, you can check out PAC on Facebook. Wrestling takes place on Saturday from 6:20pm to 7:50pm, and on Sunday from 1:20pm to 2:20pm.

Look Forward to Two New Events This Year

As if the numerous activities that happen at the I Love BBQ & Music Festival aren't enough, festival organizer, Feld, decided to add two more exciting events to this year's lineup!

Woodsmen Competition

split image. on left is girl cutting wood with chainsaw. on right is girl climbing a tall pole

Experience the hair-raising Woodsmen Competition by the Paul Smith's College Woodsmen Team. This co-ed team participates in various lumberjack competitions, including axe throwing, tree-climbing, log rolling, and more events. The team holds a remarkable track record of success and is widely recognized as the winningest team in the sport.

You can catch their performances on Sunday, September 3, from 11:40am to 12:20pm and 2:30pm to 3:15pm.

Cornhole Competition

There will also be a fun-filled cornhole competition at the 2023 festival too. On Saturday, September 2, from noon to 4pm, attendees can try their hand at the game of cornhole! Then, from 4pm to 5pm, stick around to watch the exhibition match between competitive cornhole players.

Check Out the Full Festival Schedule 

bmx biker doing a trick in the air

Here's the full schedule of events for 2023:

Friday, September 1

Music Performers & Entertainment

  • 3pm: Gates open
  • 3:20pm - 4pm: Music performance by Maribyrd
  • 4:20pm - 5pm: Music  performance by Austin and the In-Laws
  • 5:20pm - 6pm: Music performance by Sven Curth
  • 6pm - 6:20pm: Free Style BMX Bikes Krusher Stunt Team Performance
  • 6:20pm - 7pm: Music performance by Larry Stone
  • 7:20pm - 8pm: Music performance by Carl Rubino
  • All day: Children's fun inflatables attractions, food and beverage available to purchase, additional vendors

BBQ Competitions

  • 4:30pm - 6pm: $2 for 2oz. pulled pork. Bacon price TBA. Public tasting events prepared by competitive teams
  • 9pm: Doors close
split image with pulled pork on the left and a large bacon wrap on the right

Saturday, September 2

Music Performers & Entertainment

  • 11:30am: Gates open
  • 12pm - 4pm: Cornhole for public to play
  • 12:20pm - 1pm: Music performance by Crosswinds Jam Band
  • 1:20pm - 2pm: Music performance by Scott Sileo
  • 1pm - 2:30pm: Buck a Rib/Best Ribs in the East (People's Choice - $1, 1 rib)
  • 2pm - 2:20pm: Free Style BMX Bikes Krusher Stunt Team Performance
  • 2:20pm - 2:50pm: Top Chef demonstration by Pit Master Greg Boggs
  • 2:20pm - 3pm: Music performance by All Without the Bass
  • 3:20pm - 4pm: Music performance by Ursa and the Major Key
  • 4pm - 4:30pm: Top Chef demonstration by Pit Master Cole Kowalski
  • 4pm - 5pm: Competitive cornhole exhibition match
  • 4:20pm - 5pm: Music performance by Danni Nicholls
  • 5:20pm - 6pm: Music performance by Junior Sixteen
  • 5:30pm - 6pm: Top Chef demonstration by Pit Master Cameron Symonds
  • 6pm - 6:20pm: Free Style BMX Bikes Krusher Stunt Team Performance
  • 6:20pm - 7:50pm: Performance Arts Connection (PAC) Professional Wrestling With Stars Like Crusher Bigelow (Hardcore Icon) and Scrap Iron (The Iron Man of PAC), and others
  • All day: Children's fun inflatable attractions, food, beverages available to purchase, additional vendors

BBQ Competitions

  • 11am: Celebrity Judges Meet with Master Judges Linda and Jerry Mullane at the VIP building
  • 12pm: Kids in the Kitchen (hot dogs turn in)
  • 12:30pm: Kids in the Kitchen (dessert turn in)
  • 5:30pm - 6pm: Quinn Family Barbecue & Hot Sauce Competition
  • 6:30pm: All teams participating in KCBS Competition meet with KCBS Master Judges Louis Weidner and Bob McKee at the VIP building
  • 7:30pm: Awards Ceremonies for Best Ribs in the East, Quinn Family Barbecue & Hot Sauce Competition, Kids in the Kitchen, and Top Chef
  • 8:30pm: Gates close
trio of pics with man preparing barbecue ribs, barbecue ribs, and peppers and onions

Sunday, September 3

Music Performers & Entertainment

  • 11am: Gates open
  • 11:40am - 12:20pm: Woodsmen Team performance
  • 12:20pm - 1pm: Music performance by Patt Duffy
  • 1pm - 1:20pm: Free Style BMX Bikers Krusher Stunt Team Performance
  • 1:20pm - 2:20pm: Performance Arts Connection (PAC) Professional Wrestling With Stars Like Crusher Bigelow (Hardcore Icon) and Scrap Iron (The Iron Man of PAC), and others
  • 2:20pm - 3pm: Music performance by The Last Pages
  • 2:45pm - 3:30pm: Woodsmen Team performance
  • 3:20pm - 4pm: Music performance by Adrianna Noone

The Judging Process

  • 9am: Judges sign in for KCBS contest at the VIP building
  • 10:15am: Judges for KCBS contest must be in judging area for their seat assignment 
  • 10:30am: Judges meeting with KCBS Master Judges Louis Weidner and Bob McKee
  • 11:55am: Judging begins

KCBS Sanctioned Event & Awards

  • 12pm: Chicken Turn-In
  • 12:30pm: Ribs Turn-In
  • 1pm: Pork Butt/Shoulder Turn-In
  • 1:30pm: Beef Brisket Turn-In
  • 4:15pm: Awards Ceremonies & Raffle Drawing*
  • 5pm: The festival is over, but gates remain open for food sales until vendors close
  • All day: Children's fun inflatable attractions, food, beverages available to purchase, additional vendors

The Grand Champion of the barbecue competition wins $1,500, 2nd place gets $1,000, and third place also gets $1,000. Each subsequent barbecue category winner receives $1,000, for a total of $8,500 of cash prizes being given out.

*Raffle tickets cost $100 each, with only 300 tickets available. You can visit to purchase a ticket, and you'll be sent your ticket number. Remember, proceeds benefit the Shipman Youth Center!

Find Out Why You'll Feel Awesome Supporting the Shipman Youth Center

group of people pose together at the festival

All proceeds from the I Love BBQ & Music Festival go toward the Shipman Youth Center, and have each year. The Shipman Youth Center works with USA Luge and local sponsors to coordinate volunteers and funds for the event.

The Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid was inspired by Thomas Shipman, a youth police officer who passed away at just 39 years old in 1995. He always wanted a local youth center, and the community made it happen.

This youth center has provided hundreds of services for local kids and teens, including recreational services, volunteer opportunities, and just a general, safe place for kids to hang out five days a week.

Make Your Labor Day Weekend BBQ Festival Plans

two guys eating barbecue fare at festival

The I Love BBQ & Music Festival was named one of the Top 10 Barbecue Festivals in America by USA Today in 2016. After learning more, we’re not surprised! Plan to attend one or more festival days this Labor Day Weekend, September 1 - 3, 2023.

The Festival takes place at the North Elba showgrounds in Lake Placid, at 5514 Cascade Road, across from the Olympic Ski jumps. You can find directions, info on how to become a judge, and more at their website, linked below.

Bonus Tips for the Festival: Where to Stay & Eat While You're in Lake Placid

Coming from out of town? Festival organizers recommend the following businesses for places to stay, eat, and more: Best Western Adirondack Inn, Adirondack Premier Properties, Golden Arrow Resort, Wildwood on the Lake Motel, Coakley Home & Hardware, and of course, the Shipman Youth Center.

Visit their website for more details >>

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