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EarthFair Food Vendors

Giving EarthFair Attendees an alternative
to standard fast-food concessions

One of the goals at EarthFair is to give the 60,000 attendees good, healthy alternatives to the usual hot dogs and hamburgers you find at public facilities. To this end, we offer exhibit space for food vendors. If you are interested in providing food service at EarthFair, this section is intended to give you the information you need to decide whether this opportunity is right for you.

    Exhibiting in this area is also of interest to organizations who are promoting specific food or beverage products and want to sample them to the public.

What can we serve at EarthFair?

    The only restrictions are:

  • All food items served be vegetarian
  • ALL food service items must be compostable or recyclable. (see below)

     Many vendors serve full meals; others serve beverages (smoothies, tea, health drinks, etc.) or snacks (e.g. popcorn).

How much will we sell?

    You sales will depend on many factors, including the weather. In 2017, 26 individual food vendors reported total sales between $700 (drinks only) and $3,820 (pizza, lasagna, enchiladas, couscous, beverages). The average sales per vendor was $2,170, and the median sales volume was $2,125.

Where Does EarthFair Food Service Take Place?

    EarthFair takes place in Balboa Park; all of our food service takes place in two places: the north-east corner of Area 10 (Plaza de Panama), and Area 9 (Presidents Field) (click here to see a sample park map). In Area 9, the food booths are adjacent to an entertainment stage. In Area 10, the food booths are adjacent to a Beer Garden.

What does it cost to exhibit?

    Unlike the standard EarthFair exhibitor fees, which depend on organization type and size, there is a single price schedule for all EarthFair Food Vendors. Click here for Food Vendor space descriptions and prices.

Note: when registering, be sure to use the Food Vendor Application, NOT the standard EarthFair Exhibitor Application form.

    All food vendors are required to remit 10% of their gross margin to EarthWorks (gross margin = total sales minus exhibitor fees paid to EarthWorks); food vendors will want to take account of this fee in their pricing.

Don't Forget the Health Department!

    All groups distributing food items at EarthFair must have a health permit issued by the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health (DEH). In addition, you must follow all the DEH guidelines - DEH inspectors will be at EarthFair and will close down any vendor not complying.

Click here to download the Temporary Food Facility Permit and Food Vendor Guidelines.

    Specifically, if you are preparing food you will need to have a screened-in food booth with flooring. You can provide your own, or we can provide one for you.

     We do provide a 3-comparement sink and hot water for use by food vendors.

What about cooking?

    If you plan to cook food - whether with gas, electricity, or charcoal - you must follow the Fire Marshall's safety rules. The Fire Marshall will be inspecting each food vendor in the morning, and will close down any vendor not complying with their safety standards. Typical problems include not having the correct fire extinguisher, and having frayed or worn flexible gas lines.

Click here to download the Fire Marshall's rules for Portable Cooking at Special Events

Is electricity available?

Due to permitting restrictions, exhibitors may not bring their own generators.

    Electricity is available at $75 for each 110-volt, 20-amp circuit you need (we rent a generator for this; there is no house power provided by the park). We can provide 110 volt service only. If you have special or extreme needs, please contact us directly.

Food service item requirements

    Food service generates a lot of waste. Instead of dumping this in the landfill as waste, the City of San Diego Department of Environmental Services takes our food waste and turns it into compost.

    To support this recycling effort, all food service items must be either COMPOSTABLE or RECYCLEABLE. This means:

  • No styrofoam at all.
  • Utensils (forks, spoons) should be wood or bamboo.
    Most of the corn starch utensils that are advertised to be compostable - in fact do not compost.
  • Plates, bowls and other food containers should be paper. UNCOATED paper is preferred.
    Paper plates with a plastic coating make recycling more difficult.
  • Paper cups and straws are best. Plastic cups can be used if they are #1 or #2 plastic.
  • No plastic condiment packs (e.g., ketchup, soy sauce).
    Provide condiments from bulk dispensers at your booth, or in compostable containers.
  • No plastic straws, stirrers, lids, etc.

Food Vendor Registration

San Diego EarthWorks is handling all EarthFair Applications via our on-line registration system. You can create an account for yourself, fill-out your Food Vendor application, review and change their application at any time, and can download your event logistics information before the fair.

     To use the system, you do need to have an email account that you use regularly. If you don't have or use email, please call the office at 858-272-7370.

Important Dates

  • April 3, 2018: Last day to register and pay without a $40 late registration fee.
  • April 17, 2018: Last day to register as an exhibitor
  • May 9, 2018: Last day to file sales report

Supporting Materials

    We recommend that you review the following document. If you have exhibited before, you will find this familiar. If you have not exhibited before, please look it over carefully; you will need this information to complete the application.

Using the Registration System

    The first step in using the system is to register as an Associate. You will provide your basic contact information (name, address, email, etc.) and give yourself a login name and password. After registering, click the button that says "EarthFair 2018 Food Vendor" to begin your registration.

     Once you have registered, you can use your login name and password to login to your own account, review and change your application, and download your logistics information before the fair.

If you have exhibited at EarthFair before, we have already created your account. If you have not already received your login information by email, please call the office at 858-272-7370, or send email to ef18exh@earthdayweb.org. Alternatively, you may be able to retrieve your account information by entering your email address in the login page; it will be emailed to you.

This new registration system is secure; your account can only be accessed with your login name and password. And, as always, we will never provide your personal information to any other organization without your permission for any reason, ever, period.

Click here to go to the Registration System

Questions? Send email to ef18exh@earthdayweb.org
or call the office at 858-272-7370


 email: info18earthdayweb.org     Phone: (858) 272-7370
PO Box 9827 • San Diego, CA 92169