Transient Food and Farmers' Market Vendors

temporary food stand

We issue annual transient food and drink licenses to food vendors for special events. Events include:

  • Fairs
  • Festivals
  • Sporting events
  • Farmers’ markets

What is a Transient Food Stand?

A transient food stand serves food to the public at one location for no more than 14 consecutive days.

Food Safety Requirements & Resources

How to Get Your Transient Food Stand Licensed

  • You can apply and pay for your annual Transient Food License online. If you are a new user, you will click "Register for an Account."
  • You can also complete the application and pay by mail or in person: City of Madison Clerk's Office, 210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd #103, Madison, WI 53703.
  • Call us at (608) 242-6515 or email us before the event to discuss your food stand set up.
  • Check with your local municipality for zoning, fire, and/or other local requirements.
  • For questions, to get help completing this application in another language, or to contact a sanitarian, call Environmental Heath at (608) 242-6515 or email us.
  • For events on the UW-Madison campus, contact UW Environmental Health & Safety for licensing.

We want to better serve you! Fill out our 2-minute anonymous feedback survey about your health inspection.

Licensing Exemptions

  • A non-profit food stand serving meals may operate up to three days within a calendar year. After three days, a license and payment  is required.
  • A non-profit food stand serving retail foods (non-meals) is allowed to operate up to twelve days per calendar year. After twelve days, a license and payment  is required.
  • For fee exempt days, non-profit groups must:
    •  Register by sending a Transient Food and Drink license application to
    •  Follow safe food handling practices
  • Food stands at youth sporting events, such as a little league game, that operate for the benefit of the youth sports team or program.
  • Free food samples that meet these Guidelines
  • Home bakers selling baked goods following DATCP Guidelines

Transient Food Licenses from Other Jurisdictions

  •  If you have a current transient food license from another jurisdiction, you can vend at Dane County events.
  • Make sure to have the current license with you. If you can’t show your license, you may required to buy a transient food license from us.
  • Please note: Even with a license from another jurisdiction, you may be subject to an inspection.

Information for Event Coordinators

Event coordinators have an important role in assuring food safety. By working together, we will:

  • Identify and resolve potential public health concerns before the event
  • Make sure vendors complete their license application and pay fees.
  • Educate vendors about food safety requirements.
  • Provide a Health Department representative at vendor meeting(s) if requested.

Event coordinators must complete and send the following to us at least 14 days before the event:

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