PLEASE NOTE: If you are under 18, you will need an adult present to participate in any activity. 

This page provides an overall description of Smokin’ on the Plaza’s public events. If you would like a timeline of the festival events, please view our Schedule page.

Cook-Off Competitions

JUDGING: 5:30pm, 6/15

Smokin’ on the Plaza’s main event! Our feature cook-off is the IBCA Sanctioned BBQ Competition, in which competitors must present a brisket, pork spare ribs, and chicken for separate judging. There will be a winner in each category, and the top two performers across all categories will be named Grand Champion and Reserve Champion. The sum total of all IBCA awards is a purse of $10,000.

We also host a Non-Sanctioned BBQ Competition, where contenders can participate in the “Beans” cook-off category, the “Anything Goes” category, or both. The winner of each Non-Sanctioned category will take home half of the Non-Sanctioned BBQ Competition’s jackpot prize.

All cook-off competitions have a fee to enter. Check out our Cook-Offs page to find rules and additional information about the IBCA and Non-Sanctioned BBQ Competitions. If you’d like to compete in one or more of our cook-offs, click the button below to apply for a contender’s spot.

“Kids’ Q” Cook-Off

JUDGING: 6pm, 6/14

No adults allowed: this family-friendly competition is just for the kids! Kids’ Q contestants will be provided with pork chops for this cook-off and may use any recipe they choose to prepare their entries. Each competitor must have adult supervision, but adults are not allowed to prepare or cook.

All cook-off competitions have a fee to enter. Check out our Cook-Offs page for more rules and information about the Kids’ Q Competitions. Interested parties can sign up for this event at the Registration Tent on Day One of the festival (Friday, June 14th) between 8am-9am.

Cornhole Tournament

STARTS: 6pm, 6/14

Think you’re the best at backyard games? Test your aim in our Cornhole Tournament. This is a team event, open to teams of two, ages 16 years and older. There is a $20 entry fee for each team. Winners will take home a cash prize—$200 for the first place team, and $100 for second place!

All interested parties must sign up for this event at the Registration Tent on Day One of the festival (Friday, June 14th) between 9am-5pm. The tournament will start at 6pm on Friday, June 14th.

Beer Garden

OPENS: 5pm, 6/14 • 5pm, 6/15

Get off your feet and beat the heat—Smokin’ on the Plaza’s Beer Garden is a place where you can sit back and relax with a cold drink in hand. Covered seating areas will be provided, with brews served up by Drylands Brewing Company on Friday and Milton’s Brewing on Saturday.

Alcoholic beverages must stay in the beer garden, and attendees must be 21 or older to enter this area of the festival. The Beer Garden will be open from 5pm-9pm on both days.

Milton's Brewing logo

Live Music

STARTS: 7:15pm, 6/14 • 7:15pm, 6/15

Smokin’ on the Plaza hosts free live concerts on both days of the festival. There is an open audience area in front of the stage, and two-stepping is encouraged! The live music schedule always includes local bands in addition to well-known artists, like Pat Green, Kyle ParkBart CrowZane WilliamsStoney LaRueCasey Donahew, and many more.

Our 2024 lineup is yet to be announced, but check back with us soon for more information about participating entertainment.

Roller Rink

OPENS: 5pm, 6/15

We’re bringing back the rollerblading rink for 2024! The rink will be open to all ages on Saturday, June 15th, from 5pm-9pm.

Bring your your own skates, or rent ours free of charge. Skate rentals will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, so all sizes may not be available.

Foam Party Pit

OPENS: 4pm, 6/15

Summers in Downtown Lovington are hot! Join the fun and cool off at the foam party pit on Saturday, June 15th, from 4-8pm. The foam party pit is free to all ages and hosted by Let’s Have Foam—Southeast NM’s Family Fun Provider.

The foam party pit will wet clothes, so please dress accordingly!

Vendor Booth Shopping

OPEN: 12pm, 6/14 • 12pm, 6/15

There is a wide variety of vendor booths to peruse at Smokin’ on the Plaza. If you need a little something to go with your BBQ, additional food, drinks, and treats can be purchased from our various food vendors. Or, shop ’til you drop at the artisan vendor booths, and browse through some one-of-a-kind finds. From handcrafted items to artwork and home wares, you can find gifts and goods for all kinds. All vendors are independent, and will have different hours, pricing, and menu options. Most festival vendors will take credit/debit cards, but we advise bringing cash, just in case.

Interested in being a vendor yourself? Check-out our vendor guidelines and application instructions. Vendor space fills up quickly, and is reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. All food and drink service vendors must provide proof of a valid food permit before the festival. View our map for more information about vendor space at Smokin’ on the Plaza.