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I Love BBQ & Music Festival moves to Labor Day weekend

Luke and Kim Darnell, of the Old Virginia Smoke team from Bristow,Virginia, prepare their pork entry for the Kansas City Barbeque Society competition during the 2019 I Love BBQ and Music Festival at the Olympic Speedskating Oval. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — The I Love BBQ and Music Festival will return to this village after taking last summer off due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet many of the details still have to be worked out.

Two things are certain at this point. The festival will move its traditional date from the Fourth of July holiday to Labor Day weekend and its location from the Olympic Speedskating Oval to the North Elba Show Grounds, according to organizer Dmitry Feld.

Both changes are linked. Due to the reconstruction of the oval by the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, that venue in front of the Lake Placid Middle-High School is not available this summer. And the show grounds are not available for the Fourth of July, as the Lake Placid Horse Show will be taking place during that time. But the show grounds are open for Labor Day weekend; therefore, the BBQ Festival is expected to take place there from Friday, Sept. 3 to Sunday, Sept. 5, according to Feld.

“Hopefully, we will reincarnate this thing, and maybe it will be more powerful than ever,” he said.

As COVID-19 restrictions for public events continue to change, it is unclear what rules the festival organizers will face this summer. There will be a Kansas City Barbeque Society competition, according to Feld, but the Northeast Barbecue Society competition will not take place.

Another major question mark is the U.S.-Canada border situation. It’s been closed during the pandemic, and there is no telling when it will reopen. Canadian barbecue teams make up about a third of the competitive field during the I Love BBQ and Music Festival. In 2019, 15 of the 43 teams came from Canada, Feld said.

Live music and family-friendly activities will again be part of the event.

The I Love BBQ and Music Festival is a major fundraiser for the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid. Last year, without the event, organizers instead held a three-day drive-in movie festival at the show grounds on Labor Day weekend to raise money for the youth center, which Feld said was successful.

Feld said he will be meeting with town of North Elba officials in early May to discuss plans for the festival.