Civic events

We explain the rules for event sponsors and vendors serving food at public events.

Public events

Most events are public events, including ticketed events.

Your event is a public event if general members of the public can:

  • Purchase tickets, or
  • Attend for free

Private events are those that only a pre-defined group of people are invited to or can attend. Examples include family reunions, club or team celebrations and employee appreciation dinners.

If you are organizing a public event where food or beverages will be sold or given away in the City of Minneapolis, you will need an Event Food Sponsor Permit. This includes sampling (marketing) of food and/or beverage products. Selling or giving away food or beverages without a permit will result in closure and a fine. Private events do not require food permits.

If you need help determining if your event is public or private contact Minneapolis 311. Ask for a Health Inspector with the events permit team.

Sponsoring a public event

During summer months large volumes of events require approval. Event food sponsors are encouraged to turn in all applications and fees as early as possible. This is to ensure plenty of time for review and approval.

Event food sponsors must:

  • Complete all sections of the Event Food Sponsor Permit application, and
  • List all vendors taking part.

As the event food sponsor, you may also provide food or beverage. Simply fill out your own Short Term Food Permit application and list your organization or business name used on that permit in the FREE vendor line of the Event Food Sponsor Permit application.

The Event Food Sponsor must submit the following applications and fees to Minneapolis Environmental Health at least two weeks before the event:

  • Event Food Sponsor Permit application 
  • Short Term Food Permit application for vendor(s) selling or giving away food or beverages 
  • Seasonal Food Permit application for vendor(s) selling or giving away food or beverages at multiple licensed public events and/or farmers markets. 
  • Payment for all applications - See payment options below.

Event Food Sponsor application - English

Short term food vendor permit application

Seasonal Food Vendor Permit application  - Seasonal food permit vendors who work more than 10 days a year must have a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM).

Event Food Sponsors are responsible for giving information about Minneapolis Green To Go rules to event food vendors. Visit Green to Go for information and flyers.

Licensed Minneapolis restaurants and bars with a Temporary Expansion of Liquor License for an event may require an Event Food Sponsor Permit and vendor permits. For these events, fees will be waived for the Event Food Sponsor Permit and Short Term Food Permit if the restaurant or bar is the only food or beverage vendor.

Events that do not need a food permit

Minnesota exempts several food events or food vendors from licensing or permitting requirements. The exemptions are very specific.

If you are using any of these exemptions, it is your responsibility to make sure you meet the qualifications listed in the State exemption. You must follow through on all requirements of the exemption you are using.

Possible permitting exemptions include:

  • Faith Based organizations 
  • Chili or soup cook-offs for non-profit fundraisers.
  • Bake sales by non-profit senior citizen organizations.
  • Potluck - not sponsored by a licensed establishment other than a school.

View the full list of exemptions provided by the Minnesota Revisor of Statues Office.

Selling or giving away food

Food and beverage vendors

A Short Term Food Permit is required to sell or give away food or beverage to the public, even if you have a licensed restaurant or other licensed food business.

Complete all sections of the Short Term Food Permit application. Give your application to the Event Food Sponsor at least two weeks before the event.

Exceptions for food vendors

Vendors with the following licenses or permits do not require a Short Term Food Permit.

  • Seasonal Food Vendor Permit
  • Food truck license (Moble food)
  • Food cart license 

Simply give your permit or registration number, or license information, to your Event Food Sponsor at least 2 weeks before the event.

Vendor lists

Fees

Applications must be received at least two weeks before your event begins. Your application is late if it is received less than two weeks before your event begins.

Event food sponsor permit

  • $90 for an event with 1 to 10 food or beverage vendors
  • $175 for an event with 11 - 20 food or beverage vendors
  • $265 for an event with 21+ or more food or beverage vendors
  • Events at the Minneapolis Convention Center are half of the standard fee
  • Fees are doubled for late applications

Short-term food permit

  • $90 for public events in the City of Minneapolis
  • $45 for public events at the Minneapolis Convention Center
  • Fees are doubled for late applications

Seasonal food permit

  • $240 for an annual Seasonal Food Permit (April 1 - March 31)

Payment options

Applications and payments must be received at least 2 weeks prior to the event start date or late fees apply. Applications received less than two business days prior to the event may not be approved or could be restricted.

Pay by email

Fees paid by credit card. City staff will call you to get your payment information.
Email your application to EnvironmentalHealthPermit@minneapolismn.gov
Do not include your credit card number on your application. 

Pay in person

Fees can be paid by check, cash, or credit card
Minneapolis Development Review
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 220
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Pay by mail

Fees can be paid by check.
Make checks payable to Minneapolis Finance.

Mail payment to:
Minneapolis Environmental Health
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Food vendor materials 

Food Vendor Checklist

Food Vendor Guidelines

Visit the City's website for more food safety resources.

Green To Go

The Minneapolis Green To Go ordinance requires food prepared for immediate consumption and to-go must be put in reusable, recyclable or compostable food containers. Preferred recyclable plastics are plastics number 1, 2 and 5. Polystyrene products may not be used. Polystyrene products are foam (Styrofoam) and #6 plastics.

Visit Green to Go for more information.

Although caterers are exempt from this ordinance, caterers are encouraged to use preferred plastics number 1, 2, and 5, or compostable products for serving and to-go containers.

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Contact us

Health Department

Phone

612-673-2301

Address

Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Office hours
8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Friday