LAKE PLACID - The Winter Sports capital of the world is about to become a center for young people looking to show off their summertime outdoor cooking skills.
Lake Placid's fourth annual I Love Barbecue Festival will host the inaugural I Love Barbecue Junior World Championships during its July 4 weekend run this summer.
The event, which is the first-ever major youth competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, is open to youth 16 to 21 years of age.
"The competition is designed to energize young barbeque enthusiasts and culinary students at the high school, vocational and college levels," said ILBBQF organizer Dmitry Feld, who first suggested adding the Junior World Barbecue Championship event as part of the weekend festival.
Seven teams have registered for the ILBJWC so far, including groups from New York, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Illinois.
"It puts Lake Placid and ILBBQF on another level of American Barbecue competition and culinary arts in general," said Feld. "Visitors will be able to observe junior teams in action. It will also bring families and friends to Lake Placid to support their teams."
Up to 24 teams are allowed to compete, and are responsible for bringing their own barbeque pits, grills and tools. They will be judged on preparation of three meats, grilled vegetables, a starch and a dessert. Adults may accompany the participants but may not be involved in the food preparation in any way.
The overall winning team will be named Junior World Barbecue Champions and receive $1,000 in cash and prizes. $500 prizes are awarded to both the second and third place teams while another $3,000 will be split between the top five teams in each of four food categories.
As if the prize money were not enough, Paul Smith's College will award thousands of dollars in scholarships to members of the top teams. Members of the team placing first will each receive a $10,000 scholarship; second place team members will receive $6,000 scholarships, and third place winners will receive $4,000 each.
The scholarships can be used over four years toward a bachelor's degree in any of the college's areas of study, such as Hospitality, Resort and Tourism Management, or Culinary Arts and Service Management.
"This gesture is guaranteeing our youth a barbeque and culinary future," said Paul Smith's College Provost Richard Nelson. "This year and every year to come, Lake Placid's I Love Barbecue Junior World Championships will extend its hand to the youth of the world."
The ILBBQF is an annual three-day event at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid, with all proceeds benefiting the Thomas Shipman Youth Center.
"For the last three years, ILBBQF raised over $60,000 for the Shipman Youth Center," said Feld. "This event would not be possible without the generous support of many local businesses, local government agencies, Lake Placid Central high school, civic organizations and volunteers."
The festival begins on Friday evening, July 3, and features weekend-long adult grilling competitions, cooking demonstrations by area chefs and barbecue team pit masters, and children's activities. There will also be plenty of live music with two appearances by Zydeco music legend C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, as well as performances by ten different area bands.
The World Junior Barbecue Championships take place on Saturday, July 4. An entry form and complete rules are available on the festival's Web site, www.ilbbq.com with an entry deadline of June 25.