The Government War On Kid-Run Concession Stands

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Economic Liberty, Property Rights

View Local Restrictions on Kid-Run Concession Stands in a larger map
Red = Town has previously shut down kid-run concession stands.
Yellow = Town says kid-run concession stands are illegal unless the kids obtain at least one city permit.
Green = Town (or state!) permits kid-run concession stands without requiring any permits.

UPDATE: We first started bringing peoples’ attention to the government war on kid-run concession stands in late July 2011.  In the years since, thanks to our efforts, Lemonade Freedom has become a trendy cause!  Since 2017, four states (Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Tennessee) have passed laws expressly protecting childhood entrepreneurship, and other states (including New York) are considering similar bills.  Country Time Lemonade has even made protecting kid-run lemonade stands a way to promote their brand.  We are thrilled with these developments and we look forward to the day when our map can show that every state protects kid-run concession stands!


On June 10, 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 234 – which passed unanimously in the Texas Legislature.  This bill prohibits local governments or homeowners associations throughout the entire state from interfering with kid-run concession stands.

On April 23, 2019, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed HB 0012, which prohibits a county or municipality from requiring a license, fee, permit, or other form of regulation for a business that is operated solely by a person under 18 years of age, is located on private property with the property owner’s permission, and generates gross receipts of contributions of $3,000 or less in a calendar year.

On April 1, 2019, Governor Jared Polis signed a bill legalizing kid-run concession stands throughout the state of Colorado!

July 28, 2018 – A New York State Health Department official ordered a seven-year-old boy to stop selling lemonade from a stand he had set up in his family’s back yard.  The outrage that erupted once the story emerged led the state’s governor to intervene; he directed the Health Department to back off and offered personally to pay any fees on the boy’s behalf.

May 29, 2018 – Denver police shut down a lemonade stand that two young children were running to raise money to help a 5-year-old Indonesian child; the police claimed that the children were required to obtain a $125 permit from the city.  The shut-down was prompted by a complaint from a nearby adult vendor who was trying to sell lemonade for $7 per cup – he was apparently frustrated that the children were selling their own lemonade at the price of two cups for $1.

On March 24, 2017, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed HB 81, which protects small-scale childhood entrepreneurship – including temporary concession stands!

June 8, 2015 – The Chief of Police in little Overton, Texas, informed 7- and 8-year-old sisters that their lemonade stand violated the town’s ordinances unless they obtained a $150 “peddler’s permit.”  When a neighbor went to get that permit, he was told that the girls would also need a separate permit from the local health department.

May 20, 2015 – Health Department officials in Batavia, New York, required officials for local Little League baseball teams to throw away pizza and hot dogs that parents and children were selling at their games because the had not paid a $175 permit for each of the two stands at the ballpark.

August 26, 2014 – A 12-year-old boy in Dunedin, Florida, got a lesson in petty tyranny when his 61-year-old neighbor repeatedly badgered city officials to shut down the concession stand at which he sells cookies and lemonade.  County police came to the neighborhood several times as a result, but appear to have stopped short of demanding the closure of the stand.

May 19, 2014 – Police in San Francisco, California, tell an 11-year-old that it is not just illegal to sell lemonade and brownies… even giving them away for free would result in a $1,500 fine!

January 27, 2014 – An 11-year-old in Troy, Illinois, was making about $200 per month selling homemade cupcakes in her community… until the Madison County Health Department commanded her to shut down the business.  The government officials said she could only continue selling cupcakes if she bought a bakery or built a new, dedicated cupcake-making kitchen separate from the existing kitchen.

August 8, 2013 – Police in Queens, New York, shut down a lemonade stand run by 9-year-old Nora and 11-year-old Jameala Lahoud, arguing that anyone who operates any food stand is required to get a permit from the Department of Health – no exceptions.

August 3, 2013 – The Farrell family lives in the community that hosts the Reno-Tahoe Open golf tournament and for years Emma and Alex Farrell set up a concession stand in front of their house to cater to those attending the event.  But when another vendor complained that the girls’ stand was serving people who otherwise would have to come to the vendor, Washoe County health officials demanded the closure of the girls’ concession stand.

August 10, 2012 – An enterprising young man whose family was enduring severe financial difficulty decided to invest in a hot dog stand that, he hoped, would help keep him and his parents off the streets.  Those hopes were dashed when city zoning officials deemed his hot dog stand illegal.  Although he was subsequently invited to sell his hot dogs are events in various other communities, each location required new, costly health department permits that drained away his profits.

April 16, 2012 – For years the Westbury family had sold lemonade, cookies, and banana bread from the end of their driveway in Hopkinton, Massachusetts to spectators at the Boston Marathon; the family donated the proceeds to Relay for Life, an anti-cancer charity.  But on April 16, 2012, city health officials shut them down because they had not obtained a permit.

August 6, 2011 – The Massachusetts State Police shut down the stand of a 12-year-old refugee from Fukushima, Japan, who was selling green tea he’d brought with him when they evacuated after the tsunami.

August 1, 2011 – Police officers in Coralville, Iowa, ordered at least three different sets of children to quit selling lemonade during the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa unless they first got a vendor’s permit and a health inspection. This is the first known example of a coordinated set of shutdowns at a single time.

July 19, 2011 – McAllen, Texas shuts down girls’ lemonade stand for failure to obtain food permit, may assess grandmother $50 fine.

July 17, 2011 – Police in Appleton, Wisconsin inform children that despite legally selling lemonade and cookies in their front yard during an annual city festival for the past six or seven years, a new city ordinance bans these sales in order to protect licensed vendors from competition.

July 15, 2011 – Cops in Midway, Georgia shut down a lemonade stand some kids were running in their own front yard, saying the kids had to obtain a peddler’s license, a food license, and pay $50 per day for a temporary business permit.

June 16, 2011 – County Inspector in Maryland closes kids’ lemonade stand, fines parents $500.

June 10, 2011 – Philadelphia Department of Health shuts down cancer charity’s lemonade stand for lack of permit, hand-washing station.

March 7, 2011 – Hazelwood, Missouri, demands an end to Girl Scouts’ driveway cookie stand.

February 26, 2011 – Georgia police demand closure of Girl Scout cookie stand until girls obtain a peddler’s permit.

February 26, 2011 – In a separate incident, Savannah, Georgia, determines that city ordinances require an end to 40 year tradition of Girl Scouts selling cookies outside the historic home of the organization’s founder.

November 15, 2010 – Politician in New York sics police on 13-year-olds for selling cupcakes.

October 23, 2010 – Idaho Tax Commission official demands closure of children’s roadside pumpkin stand.

August 6, 2010 – Oregon health inspector orders lemonade stand closed unless 7-year-old girl obtains $120 license.

July 26, 2010 – San Francisco police shut down a concession stand at which a little girl was selling lemonade and brownies.

August 8, 2009 – California code enforcement officer shuts down 8-year-old girl’s lemonade stand for lack of city license.

July 19, 2009 – Police officers in Pennsylvania shut down neighborhood lemonade stand.

August 28, 2008 – Neighborhood produce stand operated by 11-year-old and 4-year-old ordered closed in Clayton, California.

August 19, 2008 – New York City Police close lemonade stand operated by 9- and 10-year old, demanding they first obtain permits – which the children subsequently requested and were denied.

July 19, 2008 – The Mayor of Claremont, California, ordered the closure of a Girl Scout Cookie stand. Afterward, the City Council proposed that all “solicitors” in the city – specifically including Girl Scouts – must have a permit before going door-to-door. After an initial furor, the ordinance passed.

September 25, 2005 – City officials in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, threaten to shut down lemonade stand operated by Brownie troop raising funds to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

August 3, 2005 – 11- and 9-year-old selling lemonade on Salem Common in Massachusetts are ordered to shut down after nearby sausage vendor complains to police that they were negatively affecting his business.

January 6, 2005 – 10-year-old in Miami Beach, Florida, told the city would not issue her a permit to sell lemonade to raise funds for disaster relief.

August 14, 2004 – St. Louis city health commissioner demands shut down of 10- and 12-year-olds’ lemonade stand for lack of proper licenses and “unsafe ice cubes.”

July 13, 2004 – Despite having a permit from one city department in Las Cruces, New Mexico, three sisters were forced to close their front-yard drink stand.

August 27, 2003 – St. Paul, Minnesota’s Office of Licenses, Inspections and Environmental Protection shut down a seven-year-old’s drink stand because she had not obtained a $60 license.

June 13, 2003 – Law enforcement officials in Naples, Florida, shut down stand selling lemonade and cookies without city license.

August 7, 2001 – County zoning officers in Rio Nido, California, demand closure of children’s snack stand.

Unknown date, 1993 – In 1993 police officers in Charleston, South Carolina, shut down a concession stand run by 12-year-old Sarah Knott and 13-year-old Margaret Johnson, stating that the girls needed to obtain a peddler’s license from the city.  Public opposition in the wake of the shut-down led the city to relent and offer an apology. h/t – Rob Lammie at Mental Floss.

July 23, 1990 – 13-year-old drink vendor shut down by city officials in Ojai, California, for lack of city permits. When he finally got all the necessary licenses, he was able to put what he learned into practice – by calling city officials to shut down other kids who were selling lemonade without a license.

Unknown date, 1988 – In 1988 the city of Watchung, New Jersey, threatened to fine nine-year-old Max Schilling $500 per day for operating a lemonade stand.  The family applied for a zoning variance, which the City ultimately approved with some conditions. h/t – Rob Lammie at Mental Floss.

Unknown date, 1983 – In 1983 an anonymous neighbor complained about six-year-old Ali Thorn’s lemonade stand and the city of Belleair, Florida, ordered her stand closed.  The city relented a week and a half later, having decided that its ordinances were not intended to prevent kid-run concession stands. h/t – Rob Lammie at Mental Floss.