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Health Department

Temporary or Special Events (Retail Food Establishments)

A Special Event Food Establishment is a food establishment that operates at a fixed location associated with a single event or celebration for less than 14 consecutive days. Regularly scheduled events at sporting arenas, concert halls, flea markets, farmers markets, events served by licensed caterers, and promotional events such as grand openings are NOT considered special events.  

Special event food vendors must be licensed to operate as mobile food units or as special event vendors.  

Licensing Fees:

Special Event FAQs  

Can a vendor use a Retail Food Establishment license from a permanent location for a Special Event?

No. The license they hold is only valid for the location indicated on their license. To operate at a separate location, an additional license is required.  

Can a vendor use a Special Event Retail Food Establishment License or Mobile License from another county?

DCHD does not accept Special Event Retail Food Establishment licenses from other counties. DCHD does accept Mobile Licenses issued in the State of Colorado except for the City and County of Denver.  

What is the difference between a Mobile Licensed Vendor and a Special Event Licensed Vendor?

While both must report to an approved commissary, the Special Event Retail Food licensed vendor may operate only at Special Events, and the vendor must adhere to less stringent equipment requirements. A Mobile Retail Food Establishment licensed vendor is associated with a specific mobile truck, trailer, or push cart, and may operate at any event, any location, and at any time, within the travel time and/or distance constraints of their commissary. 

What kind of vendors are exempt?

Vendors that provide only samples that are two (2) fl. oz. or less, and vendors that are operating as a nonprofit are considered exempt and do not need a Special Event RFE license to operate.  

How much does a Special Event Retail Food Establishment License cost?

  • Special Event License: $165 
  • Special Event Late Fee: $50 per late application 
  • Special Event Inspection (per inspector): $60 per hour

Can a vendor prepare food onsite?

No, only the final assembly of products can take place onsite (such as placing a hot dog or hamburger on a bun). All food items must be prepared at a commissary. This includes washing, chopping, peeling, dicing, shredding, and mixing activities. All poultry and ground beef are required to be precooked. Chicken and turkey may be purchased pre-cooked. Hamburger patties may be preformed and frozen.  

What does a Special Event Retail Food Establishment License, Mobile Food License and Sales Tax License look like?

The Special Event Retail Food Establishment License and Mobile Food License may vary in appearance for each county, but each is light pink and is issued by the Department of Health. The Sales Tax License is blue and is issued by the Department of Revenue.