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Event Policy

Oktoberfest Festival Food Vendor Guidelines


In October of 2023, Oktoberfest will celebrate its 36th year in Downtown Hickory.  This festival celebrates Hickory’s German heritage.  It attracts approximately 100,000 people over the span of 2 & 1/2 days.  We are excited you are considering joining us!

This year we have 3 types of food vendors! You will be selecting one of the categories below when you pay your vendor fees to participate in the festival. All fees must be paid in advance of the festival. Please make sure you have all the necessary permits to serve food in Catawba County and that you have accurately measured the linear feet you need. We have strict guidelines from the fire department about spacing between vendors who are cooking.

• Multi-Item Food Vendor: You sell more that one type of food and do not use a food truck.
• Food Truck: You operate a food truck.
• One Item Food Vendor: You only sell one item in a 10 x 10 space. Examples: Pop Corn, Lemonade, Pizza

Festival Vending Hours: The festival officially opens at 5pm on Friday. However, since setup must be completed by noon, most vendors begin selling at that time to the lunch crowd. Everyone gets excited about Oktoberfest, and it’s a great opportunity for additional sales!

Friday, October 13th:  Noon – 11pm
Saturday, October 14th:  10am – 11pm
Sunday, October 15th:  noon – 5pm

If you are accepted as a Vendor, you must open promptly and remain open and serving customers for the entire festival.  You may not close or leave early. 

We are now accepting vendor applications for the 35th Oktoberfest in Downtown Hickory, NC, October 13th,  14th, and 15th.


Final Application Deadline: Friday, August 18th, 2023.

Notifications of Acceptance will be sent out (via email) by September 1st, 2023.

All Vendor fees must be paid online and received no later than 5pm on September 8th, 2023.

Vendor logistical details will be emailed after payment.

Our email is

Questions? Our Food Vendor Coordinators will be happy to answer them.

Call Lance Riddle at 727-410-6386
Call Amy Ogle at 828-781-1121.


All vendors are selected via a committee.  All committee decisions are final. The Committee reserves the right to revoke and refuse to grant space at any time, without recourse by the participant. The Committee shall not be liable to anyone for this action.

We are a German festival and priority will be given to vendors providing food with clear German heritage.  We attract approximately 100,000 participants over the course of 2 & ½ days so you must be prepared for a high volume event.  Please take careful note that you will not be allowed to close early, leave early or stop serving at any point during the event

Ineligible items include, but are not limited to:

Alcohol / tobacco products
Non-approved food and beverages. If selling soda, only Pepsi products are allowed.
Any items not previously approved via the application process

Applying vendors are required to submit the following by no later than August 18th, 2023:

  • A completed and successfully submitted festival vendor application.  Please do this online. If you have any problems with the form, please email info@downtownhickory for assistance.
  • Applicants will receive email confirmation of their successful submission. If you DO NOT receive a confirmation, your application was not successfully submitted.
  • Festival organizers may request clarification.
  • Application does not guarantee acceptance
  • Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by September 1st, 2023.
  • You must submit clear and thorough photos of your food operation and specialty food items.  We will have space at the end of this application for you to upload your menu and photos.
  • Booths must be staffed for all festival hours.
  • Set up of your booth must be completed, and vehicles moved by noon on Friday. Festival goers tend to show up for lunch and that will be a great opportunity to make sales, and also the reason vehicles must be moved to insure pedestrian safety.
  • The festival goes on rain or shine unless extraordinary weather presents a safety issue. All vendors are expected to be open during the hours listed unless they are notified by Oktoberfest staff.
  • Oktoberfest can draw very large crowds (approximately 100,000 people over three days). Vendors are strongly encouraged to have booths staffed by more than one person to allow for breaks, large crowd size, and busy marketplace times.

Booth Pricing & Payment
Vendor Fees cover all three days of the Festival.

Food vendor space is allocated by the frontage foot. Standard booth / tent spaces are 10 frontage feet and 20 frontage feet. Standard food vendor spaces are 12 feet deep. Depths for non-standard spaces may vary.  Please ensure you measure per the guidelines noted below.  See pricing chart below for easy reference.

Please be careful when supplying the measurements for the space you need. We must follow fire codes and if your measurement is not accurate, we may not be able to accommodate your business.

For food trucks, frontage foot allocation is based on the bumper to bumper length.

For trailers, frontage foot allocation is the total length including tongue.

For tents, frontage space is 10 feet.  If your set-up extends beyond the 10 feet, you must count that in your measurement and pay the appropriate fees. Please note that fees for Food Trucks and One Item Vendors are different and you will have the option to select the correct type of vendor space upon checkout.

Frontage Feet
10 – $750.00
20 – $1500.00
30 – $2250.00
40 – $3000.00

Additional Feet
$75.00 each

13 feet – $750+ $75 x 3 ($225) = $975.00
42 feet – $3000 + $75 x 2 ($150) = $3150.00

For food operations that have a unique footprint that can’t fit in these dimensions it may be possible to negotiate a special space allocation and fee. Please get in touch.

No refunds or cancellations.

No refunds for inclement weather.

All Oktoberfest vendors will receive the following marketing benefits:

  • A listing on Oktoberfest’s website, with a link to the vendor’s website (if submitted).
  • Extensive general advertising of the event.

Vendor Placement and Space Details

  • Oktoberfest will assign the booth location for each vendor. Our aim is to place vendors who sell similar products in different areas of the festival. Please understand that festival vendor placement is subject to change if there are changes to the Festival site.
  • All vendors must follow all State and Local Fire Codes and Building Codes.
  • Vendors may not trade, switch, or set up in another area, without approval from the Festival.
  • No holes may be dug.
  • Wi-Fi service is not guaranteed at Oktoberfest. Vendors needing a reliable internet connection should plan to provide their own hotspot service.
  • Set-up will occur on the morning of Friday, October 7th, starting at 7am.  Details will be provided after acceptance.  Depending upon your location, you may need to be prepared to transport some items to your designated location.

Booth Operations Guidelines

  • Vendors must restrict activities to their booth space.
  • No space-sharing or subletting will be permitted, nor can the vendor assign the contract to another party.
  • Vendor booths must be fully operational at the time Oktoberfest officially opens each day and remain fully operational until Oktoberfest closes each day.
  • Vendors may not advertise outside of their booth space. (This includes but is not limited to: the use of rovers, flyers, and sandwich boards.)
  • Raffles are not allowed.
  • Camping is not allowed on the festival site.
  • Generators are not allowed.
  • There will be overnight security at Oktoberfest provided by the Hickory Downtown Development Association. However, fixtures and materials are left overnight at the vendors’ risk. The Festival’s insurance will not cover personal property; vendors should obtain their own insurance.
  • Playing music from your booth is prohibited.
  • Vendor is responsible for a clean booth area, free of debris.
  • Vendors may sell ONLY what Oktoberfest has invited them to sell (indicated on contract).
  • Loud noises (voices, instruments or machinery), strong odors, or any activities deemed disruptive by the festival are not permitted.
  • Vendors should furnish sufficient change for their sales transactions.
  • Oktoberfest provides ambient lighting. Vendors are responsible for bringing their own display lighting. LED lighting is preferred.  Electricity is provided only if requested and awarded during the application process.
  • In the event of a dispute, the decision of the Oktoberfest organizers will be accepted as final.


  • 20 amp (110 Volt) single ground fault outlet electrical service is available and must be requested during the application process. No 220 Volt service is available. Electricity is limited so please ensure we understand your need.
  • Vendors are responsible for providing their own power cord and power distribution from the service connection to and within their vending space. Vendors should bring all necessary grounded 10 or 12 gauge extension cords and outlet strips as needed. Cords should be labeled with the business name at both ends. All cords will be inspected by the Fire Marshall and Building Inspector. Any cords or outlet strips deemed unsafe will be disconnected. Please bring tape and zip ties to secure your cord.


Vehicles on Site and Booth Clean up

  • Vehicles are NOT allowed on-site except during the designated set-up and break-down. times.
  • Vendors will receive parking passes and instructions after acceptance.
  • Vendor is responsible for staff parking and any parking needs beyond the passes provided. Public parking is available and free of charge.


Booth Clean Up

  • Vendors may not begin to dismantle or remove booths before 5pm on Sunday, October 15th.
  • Vendors must take home their entire booths – including carpet, display racks, storage containers, decorations, etc.
  • Any vendors failing to completely clean up their booth areas must pay a clean-up fee and may be disqualified from participation in future Oktoberfest’s.
  • Vendors must properly dispose of trash and cardboard as directed by Oktoberfest personnel.


Oktoberfest and the Hickory Downtown Development Association disclaims any authority of control over the operation of vendors.

  • Vendors assume all rights and responsibilities for the conduct of their operations including, but not limited to: obtaining liability and general coverage insurance for vendor-related activities adhering to all local and state ordinances and regulations.
  • Certificate of Insurance:  If accepted as a Vendor for Oktoberfest, we will need a certificate of insurance provided to Oktoberfest producers, Hickory Downtown Development Association, within two weeks of acceptance. The Certificate of Insurance must name: HDDA Oktoberfest 2023 as additionally insured.
    Email to OR mail to:
    Hickory Oktoberfest
    PO Box 9086
    Hickory, NC 28603
  • Hickory’s Oktoberfest, presented by the Hickory Downtown Development Association, may, in its discretion, cancel all or part of the Oktoberfest event if circumstances regarding any act of God or nature warrant (other than local weather events) including public health orders or recommendations on reasonable notice in which case no payment will be required and any deposit will be returned.
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The City of Hickory is a North Carolina Main Street community, designated by the N.C. Department of Commerce Main Street & Rural Planning Center.  Hickory Downtown Development Association is charged with administering the program at the local level and building public-private partnerships to spur economic development that achieves measurable results such as investment, business growth, and job creation. 

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As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Hickory Downtown Development Association is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities that share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by Main Street America.

Hickory Downtown
Development Association
24 First Avenue NE
P.O. Box 9086
Hickory, NC 28603