How to Plan a Multi-Day Food Festival: 13 Steps for Beginners
Planning a multi-day food festival is a great way to kick off the launch of a new business or to spread the word about an existing brand or company in your local area.
When you are brainstorming virtual event ideas and activities, consider a food festival to reach those who are in your immediate local vicinity. If you are planning a multi-day food festival for any reason, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure your event goes as smoothly as possible.
Step 1: Create a website
Launch a website or a single landing page that displays what food(s) will be offered at your multi-day food festival. You should include details regarding registration and signing up on your website’s landing page.
What to include on your registration page:
- Ticket options and prices
- Event details (time, location, gate opens at...,etc.)
- Talent/performers if any
- Ticket links or shopping cart
- Terms and conditions
- What allowed and not allowed at the event
- If multi day event, create different ticket packages to support those options
- VIP add ons or merchandise purchases?
- Links to resources, talent or vendor pages
- Info about event health and safety
- Volunteer and/or vendor sign up links
- Event images, media, highlights
- Links to social media accounts
- Sponsor info
Step 2: How long is the event?
How long do you intend to host the event?
If hosting a multi-day food event, consider the schedule and which days are likely to attract the most foot traffic.
What type of food will you be offering each day and how many days will your event run?
You can also include your multi-day food menu online using your official website and/or landing page to give guests a glimpse at what to expect.
Create tickets for multi-day events
An easy-to-use platform that supports multi-day
Step 3: Registration and ticketing
Consider the type of tickets you will offer based on the length of your food festival.
Some options for tickets include:
One-day only passes
General admission passes for the entire multi-day festival
VIP passes or add ons
- 2-day/4-day flex pass
Choose the type of passes that are most appropriate for the duration of your planned event and the type of event you intend to host and whether there will be alcohol and/or VIP features and functions. If you choose to host a 21+ drinking event, you can also offer drinking passes and vouchers, if applicable.
Step 4: Define your target market?
Define the target market you intend to reach with your multi-day festival. What demographics do you intend to target for your business, and why?
Are you trying to appeal to a certain group of demographics based on locale, or are you honing in on a specific age range and gender to maximize your sales and, ultimately, your revenue?
Once you understand your market and who you are targeting, can you then start putting together your event. Think who, what, when, where, why.
Step 5: Choose a theme
Whenever you are hosting a multi-day food festival, consider the theme of the event. While it is unnecessary to choose a theme for an outdoor or a multi-day food festival, it can add to the appeal of the gathering. Themes can help make an event more appealing and exciting, especially for those unfamiliar with your business.
Consider choosing Restaurant Week as your theme if you are working with many restaurants and caterers in the area. Work with local vendors, host a taco competition, or even host a cook or bake-off with multiple participants.
Step 6: Implement registration for vendors
If applicable, implement registration for vendors and for those who intend to promote their business and brand on your official website or landing page.
- Will you require a participation or entry fee?
- What requirements are important for each vendor in order to take part in the festival?
- What marketing materials might your vendors require in order to participation?
For a list of questions and fields to include on your vendor registration form, click here.
Step 7: Location, location, location
Choosing the location is one of the most important elements of hosting any multi-day food festival, indoors or out. Hosting a multi-day food festival is much easier outdoors, so it is important to seek spaces that are available to rent and are suitable for hosting food-centric events.
Find a location that is populated and relevant to the demographics you are interested in appealing to and reaching. Also consider the size of your guest list and parking or nearby transportation.
Step 8: Obtain permits and liquor licenses
With any multi-day festival or event, you will probably need to get operating permits.
If you are providing alcohol to individuals 21 and older, you may require a temporary liquor license or permission from your local city or state, depending on where your event is hosted. Hosting an event without the proper permits, certifications, and licenses can result in the closure and fining of your business.
Permits you might need for the festival:
- Noise permit
- Alcohol license or temporary liquor license
- Health permit
- Check local state/area mandates regarding COVID-19 and events ***
- Building permits (tents)
- Event permit
- Premises license
Step 9: Follow food safety protocols
Anytime you serve food or beverages, it is imperative to follow standard food safety protocols.
Avoid serving food after it has been left out too long.
Ensure any food you prepare and serve is properly cared for in a temperature-controlled environment.
Work with professionals who understand food safety protocols.
Step 10: Marketing strategy
Launching an effective marketing strategy is also key to a successful multi-day food festival, even if you are launching a brand new business.
What type of marketing will you used to attract attendees and prospective customers?
Will you promote your multi-day food festival via local newspapers and television channels, or via social media and your own online newsletter subscription?
Brainstorm creative ideas for your marketing strategy depending on the size and duration of your event and its intended location. For more marketing strategy ideas, click here.
Step 11: Volunteers or paid staff
Running a successful multi-day food festival requires a bit of help, even if you receive help from volunteers. When you are planning a multi-day food festival, consider whether you will look to hire paid staff or recruit volunteers. Seeking volunteers is much easier when you are hosting an event to promote all the small businesses in the vicinity other than just your own.
You can search for volunteers and paid staff via local job listings and even via social media.
Consider placing a registration or application area for volunteers and/or prospective paid staff on your website or official landing page to attract even more attention.
Step 12: Additional experiences and activities
Consider additional experiences and activities you intend to implement into your multi-day food festivals, such as live music or even food, wine, and cooking demos.
Depending on the type of event you are hosting, its location, and your intent, additional experiences, and activities can help keep attendees longer and keep them wanting more.
Step 13: Consider food allergies and sensitivities **
Whenever you are planning a multi-day food festival or event, it is important to keep food sensitivities and allergies in mind.
Consider offering a vegetarian, dairy-free, vegan, and gluten-free menu or vendor for attendees who cannot eat standard and traditional menu items. The more variety you offer in terms of dietary needs, the more inclusive your event will be.
Knowing how to plan a multi-day food festival from start to finish is optimal whenever you are trying to garner attention for your business and brand. Whether you are promoting many small businesses near you or if your intent is to maximize your own company’s local visibility and reach, hosting a multi-day food festival is a great place to start.