DES MOINES — If you are planning on being an event host or food vendor on this year's RAGBRAI route and you haven't submitted an application, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) suggests that you apply now.

Registration applications for RAGBRAI-related events are due by May 23. An event registration enables civic and business organizations, among others, to host a temporary event with more than 10 food vendors.

Host cities and municipalities are frequent applicants for event registrations during RAGBRAI.

In addition to event registrations, temporary food establishment licenses for those operating along the RAGBRAI route must be received at least 30 days before operation begins. There are 91 days left before the start of RAGBRAI 2022. 

A temporary food establishment (also referred to as a "food stand") license allows a food stand to operate for up to 14 consecutive days at a fair, festival, or other event, like RAGBRAI. Those who wish to operate in multiple locations along the route will need to obtain a separate license at each location.

Event registrations and single-event temporary food establishment licenses each cost $50.

It is important that those wishing to obtain registrations and permits also apply in the correct jurisdiction. DIA manages licensing and registration in 63 Iowa counties, and contracts with 12 local health departments to license and inspect food establishments in 36 counties.

"Applying in the wrong jurisdiction will hold up your license or registration, and with event and temporary licenses, time is of the essence," said Mark Speltz, chief of DIA's Food and Consumer Safety Bureau. "DIA receives the most event and temporary food licenses during the spring and summer months. Applications must be received as soon as possible to ensure they are available and valid for the event."

The quickest and easiest way to apply for an event or temporary food license is online. Potential licensees in any county may apply via DIA's food website. However, you must still make sure you choose the correct county/jurisdiction during the application process.

Additional details about event registration and temporary food establishment licenses, including information about annual temporary food establishment licenses and a video about how to apply for a temporary food establishment license, can be found on the DIA website.

The website details:

  • Contact information for each of the health departments responsible for applications in counties on the RAGBRAI route;
  • When a temporary food establishment license is needed;
  • What food can be served in a temporary food establishment;
  • Technical requirements for temporary food stands, including:
    • Service requirements for temporary food establishments, such as electricity, ice, water supply/storage/disposal, toilets and handwashing;
    • Personnel and sick food handlers;
    • Food prep and handling, including food and condiment display, cooking and storage temperatures, proper refrigerated storage, thermometers, cooking preparation and service utensils, eating and drinking utensils, food and contact item storage;
    • Wastewater and garbage disposal; and
    • Construction requirements for food stands.

The DIA website also has information about mobile food unit ("food truck") and farmers market licenses; the number of applications for these licenses also rises with outside temperatures. Applications for farmers market licenses are $150 per county per year and should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the first market. Licenses for food trucks are $250 per year and should be submitted 30 days before the intended operating date.

RAGBRAI, or the [Des Moines] Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, begins July 23 in Sergeant Bluff and ends July 30 in Lansing. The first ride took place in 1973.