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Culinary Arts

The Des Moines Arts Festival prides our culinary operations on aesthetic appeal and menu selection across the site, including two food courts and a handful of stand-alone booths. We offer our guests an eclectic variety of food to hit every taste bud. Our Food Vendors are also leading the charge in sustainability efforts by using all compostable serving materials for the over 200,000 guests who visit the DMAF each year.

2023 Food Vendor Guidelines & Regulations

Application Deadline: March 12, 2023 - CLOSED

Notification of Acceptance: April 03, 2023 

2023 Festival Dates: June 23-25; Friday & Saturday 11am-10pm // Sunday, 11am-5pm

The thirteen-time Grand Pinnacle Award-winning Des Moines Arts Festival® presented by Nationwide (DMAF) will be held June 23-25, 2023. This free, annual three-day arts and culture festival surrounds the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. DMAF invites you to “…go where it takes you…” by engaging with 190 invited professional visual artists, emerging Iowa artists, the Interrobang Film Festival, live music on two stages, performing arts, interactive arts activities, award-winning community outreach programs, live artist workshops and demonstrations, and artisan food and beverages for every palette.  

The Des Moines Arts Festival prides our food vending operations on aesthetic appeal and menu selection across the site, including two food courts and a handful of stand-alone booths. We offer our guests an eclectic variety of food to hit every taste bud. Our Food Vendors are also leading the charge in sustainability efforts by using all compostable serving materials for the over 200,000 guests who visit the Festival each year.

Food vendor applications are reviewed and selected by the Food Vendor Relations Event Management Team – the on-site management team. The team looks for unique flavors/items for a summer festival and price points, as well as past interactions with vendors (or connects with provided references if new to DMAF). The Festival’s goal is to have different types of cuisine in each food court, having no more than two-three flavor profiles of each across the site.

Operation Requirements 

  • For safety and aesthetic purposes, the DMAF will provide vendors in the East and West Food Courts (excluding food truck/trailer and select “sweets & treats” vendors) with:

    • 10x10 tent with tent sides and weights

    • (2) 8 foot tables

    • (2) chairs

    • (1) tent can light

    • A serving counter

    • (2) menu boards and a vendor name board

  • Food Truck/Trailers are provided with one DMAF coroplast menu to uphold the aesthetics of the Festival and provide ease of ordering for guests. You are required to mount these menus unless you have prior approval from DMAF staff pre-festival.

  • Vendors selected as stand-alone booths are “sweets and treats” vendors and may utilize their own tents if approved by DMAF. PLEASE NOTE: Stand-alone vendors who bring their own tents are not permitted to use light-weight, accordion-style, pop-up tents. All tents must be weighted properly with a minimum of 40lbs of weight on each tent leg. This helps ensure the highest degree of safety to the food vendor, their neighbor, and Festival guests. Do NOT rely on us to provide sandbags. The proper tent with the proper weights is entirely the responsibility of the food vendor. Severe weather can hit at any time. The Fire Department will inspect weights on the tents at set up. The DMAF staff will not place their lives at risk to secure a tent. Weights are available for rent for $50 (flat fee for two weights) from Classic Events. Connect with Daphne if weights need to be rented.

  • Storage on-site (booths only): you will have 4'x10' feet of storage behind your booth. Items in that space must not spill onto the sidewalk or outside of that space, if they do you will be asked to leave the site. If your items exceed this space, consider purchasing a 6'x10' grill space for additional storage.

    • There are two refrigerator trucks available for your storage use on-site starting at 4pm on Thursday, June 22. You are responsible for those items. Mark your items AND DON’T FORGET THEM AT THE END OF THE FESTIVAL!!

    • Each food court will have water accessibility

    • Each food court will have oil waste and waste waster disposal available

    • Each booth will include a landfill and compost bin including bags. Bins will be placed directly behind your booth/food truck/trailer. Bins are emptied by staff throughout the Festival.

  • To maintain DMAF aesthetics, concession trailers are not allowed. If your concession trailer can break down to look like a food truck/trailer, please let us know.

  • Booth placement is at the sole discretion of the DMAF.

  • Uniquely branded containers and refillable cups are not allowed at DMAF regardless if they're compostable.                            

  • All food vendors are required to use compostable materials to serve food and beverages. All items must be purchased through DMAF selected supplier (DMAF will provide the supplier your contact information). This ensures the lowest price for you and eliminates confusion for
    guests when disposing of waste.

  • You are encouraged to accept card payments. The Festival managed beverage and merchandise booths are cashless with no festival provided ATMs on the site. You are allowed to accept cash as payment from guests.


DMAF manages the following beverages on-site: water, soda, beer/wine/spirits. Vendors are not allowed to sell any of the items listed. Menu items are limited to six if you’re selling only food or only specialty beverages. If your menu includes a specialty beverage item, your menu can be increased to seven items. No bottled drinks are allowed.


Food vendors have the opportunity to reach 1,000-2,000 transactions on Friday and Saturday and 500-1,000 on Sunday. Please make sure you are capable to serve at that capacity and speed.

ALL selected food vendors are required to attend one of two Food Vendor Meetings over Zoom (May 31 @ 5:30pm OR June 1 @ 2pm).


Booth, electrical, and grill (if applicable) payments, clean up deposit, and insurance (including listing DMAF as additionally insured) is due on or before May 5, 2023. Split payment option is available with second half of payment due on or before June 27, 2023. Those who do not make payments will be banned from future festivals.


A separate clean up deposit check of $500 must be sent with initial payment. It is your responsibility to keep your space clean and sanitized during the festival. When your space is cleared with the Festival Food Vendor team at check out, your $500 check deposit is shredded.

  • Food Booth (10x10): $1,950 (6 menu items)

  • Specialty Beverage Booth (10x10): $1,950 (6 menu items)

  • Food & Specialty Beverage Booth (10x10): $2,450 (7 menu items)

  • Food Truck/Trailer: $1,950 (6 menu items)

  • Specialty Beverage Truck/Trailer $1,950 (6 menu items)

  • Food and Specialty Beverage Truck/Trailer: $2,450 (7 menu items)

  • Electric (available Friday, June 23, 2023 at 7:30am)

    • Booths: $50 / 20 amps

    • Trucks/Trailers: $50 flat fee

  • Grill Fee / Additional storage space (6’x10’ fenced area, next to tent)

    • $500

  • Clean Up Deposit: $500 (separate check)


All food vendors are required to provide to the Festival a Certificate of Insurance naming Des Moines Arts Festival as an additional insured pursuant to a general liability insurance policy with a minimum coverage of $1,000,000. Without this certificate, food vendors will not be permitted to sell. There will not be any exceptions. Address to use for DMAF as the certificate holder:
PO Box 1434, Des Moines, IA 50305.

Due to electrical cost increases, electricity will be available starting at 7:30am on Friday, June 23. There are no exceptions. Two refrigerated trucks are provided, free of charge, for your use starting Thursday, June 22 at 4pm. If you need a freezer, please make prior arrangements or plan on loading in on Friday, June 23.

ATTENTION FOOD TRUCKS/TRAILERS: you are required to use an “RV plug”, 50A, 125/250 Volt, Nema 14-50R, 4 wire receptacle. Electricians will not provide an adapter for you. If you need to purchase an adapter, check your local big box home store.


Food vendors retain 100% of their sales and are required to individually apply for an Iowa Tax Permit. The application is free and can be accessed HERE. You are responsible for your own taxes when participating at DMAF.


City of Des Moines Rules/Regulations
Please review the Iowa Food Safety and Protection Task Force guidelines: 
Please note: Temporary food license fee is $50.  


Please review the City of Des Moines Fire Safety Rules and Regulations (updated June 8, 2022)


Food Truck Vendors: please closely review the City of Des Moines Mobile Food Vendors rules and regulations (click on the Mobile Food Vendor section):

Applications are closed for the 2023 festival. Look for an inquiry form this fall for 2023.

Questions? Connect with Daphne at

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