How to get a “picnic license” for your event

Recently, I organized an event for our local Rotary club, a not-for-profit organization, where alcohol would be served. Although we were not selling alcohol (distributors were donating their time and providing tastings at no cost), we were charging an admission fee to the event. Therefore, it necessitated applying for a Missouri picnic license. It is one of those things that once you know how to do it, it is not that difficult. I found, however, that without proper guidance, figuring out the process can be quite stressful. So that the details are clear for others, I have outlined the steps one must take in order to comply with regulations. This involves getting all your state, county and city approvals and any required licenses. The following is a step-by-step "how to" with examples of the documents.

For review, first visit the state website that addresses picnic licenses: Missouri Department of Public Safety, Alcohol & Tobacco Control


[toggle_item title="Step one: Documentation from the Missouri Department of Revenue"]

Fill out Form 126 with the Missouri Department of Revenue. Expect about a two week turnaround time to be safe. Once issued, you have 90 days to hold your event so be mindful of the time schedule. I personally like to have a direct contact with each office and in this instance, I was provided assistance by John Geiser. I have said it before and I will repeat--one of the things I love about Missouri is that when you call upon the state for assistance, you get a live person (not a never-ending voicemail chain) and staff are friendly and helpful! You might not realize it but this is a luxury; I have been in other states where you don't get personalized assistance and I guarantee business in much more pleasant when it is personable. Honestly I am very thankful for our administrative offices and the support they provide.

John told me specifically what to include in the comment box (copy below). 

You will end up receiving two documents--the Certificate of No Tax Due (sent via email) and the tax exemption letter (sent via snail mail). The tax exemption letter is important for your suppliers to keep on file (for example, the print-shop that produced our event tickets). The Certificate of No Tax Due is given to City Hall for step two.


[toggle_item title="Tax Exemption Letter"]


[toggle_item title="Tax Exemption Certificate"]


[toggle_item title="Certificate of No Tax Due"]


[toggle_item title="Step Two: Approval from the City"]

Take your Certificate of No Tax Due to City Hall. In my case I brought it to our City Clerk with the City of West Plains. Because it is not a permanent license, it does not need to go before a vote with the City Councilmembers. The City Clerk simply drafts a letter of approval for the specific date and time of the event. This letter will be included in the application package in step three.


[toggle_item title="City Letter of Permission"]


[toggle_item title="Step Three: Approval from Missouri Department of Public Safety"]

This step is the most involved and will take the longest to complete. First, download the checklist Form 829-A0026. It is very important that your organization be up-to-date on its registration with the Missouri Secretary of State's office with all your officers noted correctly. Go to the Business Entity search page and type in your organization. Click on the second tab, Filings, and download the most recent Change of Registered Agent and/or Registered Office and your Annual Registration Report. This is an annual requirement and it should be done at the beginning of your fiscal year. Print copies of the Secretary of State entity filings because it will give the required details concerning your entity and note that the members who are submitting the picnic license application are in fact official board members and authorized to do so on behalf of the organization.

You will then need to complete the Managing Officer Appointment Form (make sure to name the members listed on the SOS documentation so it can be cross-referenced) and complete the Application by Organization for Picnic License.

Start gathering all the require documentation from the checklist.

For a cashier's check, go to a bank or for a money order go to the U.S. Post Office. There will be a small convenience fee and you will need to list the name of the recipient and their address. In this case, make it out to the Missouri Director of Revenue, PO Box 831, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Note that this address is nowhere to be found in the application and you will NOT mail anything to this address; it is simply for the cashier's check or money order.

If you do not have a copy of your property tax receipt, go to your County Collector's office (usually in or near the county courthouse) and they can print  you a paid receipt for your last years personal property and real estate taxes.

Photocopy your voter registration card and your driver's license and/or passport. The passport copy is not required unless you are a naturalized citizen but it will not hurt to include and in this case I would prefer to give more information and less chance to delay processing.

You need to get "property owner permission" and in my case, this involved a letter from the manager of our venue. Our Rotary fundraiser was being held at the West Plains Civic Center. Below is our letter for reference.

Organize all these documents from the checklist in the order they are listed for clarity and mail to the address specified in the application form (addresses vary by the county). To expedite the request, send via Fed/Ex or UPS and include a pre-paid, self-addressed return envelope. Allow a week for processing and printing of the license.

If you need to follow-up with the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Central Office, you can call them at (573) 751-2333. I also copied our agent for Howell County Josh Campbell, MDLC, at so he was aware of what we were doing and knew to expect our application (however their office cannot do anything  until the payment and application have been received).


[toggle_item title="Venue Letter of Approval"]




[toggle_item title="Department of Public Safety Letter"]


[toggle_item title="Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control License"]


[toggle_item title="Step Four: Approval from the County"]

Once you receive the picnic license from The Missouri Department of Public Safety, bring a copy over to the County Clerk's office. You need to also provide a copy of your No Tax Due certificate from the Missouri Department of Revenue. In Howell County there is a $25 liquor license fee plus a three dollar service fee and it is okay to pay in cash.


[toggle_item title="Howell County Liquor License Receipt"]


[toggle_item title="Howell County Liquor License"]


[toggle_item title="Step Five: Share and publicly post licenses at your event"]

Finally, your beverage distributors will want a copy for their records and you will want to bring the license/approvals to the event and have them publicly on display.