Public events with food

Minneapolis is host to hundreds of public events each year. We explain what public events are and when you need a permit to sell or give away food at a public event.
 

Public event definition

Most events are public events, including ticketed events. If general members of the public can purchase tickets or attend for free, the event is public. 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 311 and ask for a Health Inspector with the events permit team.

Sponsoring a public event

Event food sponsors

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 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 2 weeks before the event:

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

Event Food Sponsors are responsible for giving information about the Minneapolis Green To Go rules (the Environmentally Friendly Packaging ordinance) to event food vendors. 

See Green to Go ordinance

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.

Are there any events that are exempt and do not need food permits?

Yes, Minnesota exempts several food events or food vendors from licensing or permitting requirements. The exemptions are very specific. It is the responsibility of the individual(s) using any of the following exemptions to make sure they meet the qualifications listed in the State exemption and follow through on all requirements.

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 at a public event

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

Food vendors with the one of following licenses or permits do not require a Short Term Food Permit. Simply give your permit or registration number, or license information, to your Event Food Sponsor at least 2 weeks before the event:

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

  • $235 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 mail

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

Pay in person

Fees can be paid by check, cash, or credit card

Pay by secure fax

Fees can be paid by credit card
Attention: Submit Food Permits
Include: Credit Card Number, Expiration Date, CVV Code (located on back of card), Billing Zip Code

Pay by email

Fees paid by credit card. City staff will call you to get your payment information.
Do not include credit card number on the application.

Food vendor materials 

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 reuseable, 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 (tm)) and #6 plastics.

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.

Vendor lists

The  and the Seasonal Food Vendor list  are intended to help event food sponsors and market managers looking for vendors for an event or market. The City of Minneapolis does not endorse any company.

If you have a questions about either list, contact the Health Department. Ask to speak with a health inspector on the food permit team.

 

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

 

Minneapolis Health Department

 
 

Phone
612-673-2301

 

 
 

Address

Make payment in person at:

Public Service Building
Minneapolis Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Skyway level
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Mail a payment to:

Minneapolis Environmental Health
250 Fourth St. S., Room 510
Minneapolis, MN 55415

 
 

Minneapolis 311

 
 

Office hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Monday – Friday