No alcohol for proposed Barbecue Championship

(Credit: Barbarallen Koch)
John Barci discusses his proposal for a Barbecue Championship at Thursday’s Riverhead Town Board work session. (Credit: Barbarallen Koch)

A proposed Long Island Barbecue Championship and music festival at Stotzky Park on Labor Day weekend will not allow alcohol on the park grounds, according to John Barci of West Babylon, who is proposing the event. 

But Mr. Barci said a “beer garden” could operate on an adjacent property near the Riverhead Fire Department.

In lieu of an admission fee, the festival will have a “suggested donation,” Mr. Barci told the Riverhead Town Board at its work session Thursday.

A week ago, when Mr. Barci presented his plan to the Town Board, he said he had planned to have alcohol. Councilman George Gabrielsen opposed that, saying the town doesn’t allow alcohol at the park now.

Parks and Recreation superintendent Ray Coyne agreed.

“We have too many youth that use that park,” he said.

Mr. Barci had originally proposed having the event in the downtown riverfront parking lot, but said he ran into some opposition there, and now is eyeing Stotzky Park. He said it will raise money for the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and the town recreation department.

The event will run from Aug. 28-31 and will feature musical performers, barbecue and cooking contests, and craft and retail vendors.

The barbecue contest is proposed to be part of a three-prong Long Island championship, along with existing competitions in Manorville and Brentwood, and the winner would advance on to a state championship, Mr. Barci said.

“I think it’s a win-win,” Councilman John Dunleavy said.

Mr. Gabrielsen said that if the beer garden is on a separate piece of property, Mr. Barci may need to submit two applications.

Mr. Barci has a “working budget” of $37,751 for the event and is anticipating revenues of of $53,600, stemming from vendors, water sales, T-shirts, donations, raffles and the “VIP experience.”

Town Board members said Mr. Barci must file a special event permit, which he said he will do by May 1.

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