Ballston Spa

State: Boy’s lemonade stand outside Saratoga County Fair needed permit

Sen. Jim Tedisco drafts legislation as a result of Friday's lemonade stand shutdown
Sean Mulvaney stands on his lawn Saturday where his son Brendan Mulvaney, 7, sold lemonade
Sean Mulvaney stands on his lawn Saturday where his son Brendan Mulvaney, 7, sold lemonade

BALLSTON SPA — A state Department of Health spokeswoman confirmed on Monday that a state health inspector told a family who operated a lemonade stand near the Saratoga County Fair that a permit is required.

The family of Brendan Mulvaney, 7, who was operating a lemonade stand outside of his home directly across the street from the fair in Ballston Spa, said a state Department of Health inspector shut it down on Friday.

No permit is required for a regular child’s lemonade stand, a spokeswoman said, but the stand at the family’s home went beyond that.

“The operation that was going on there was in line with the operations run by vendors that are at the fair who had permits,” state spokeswoman Jill Montag said Monday. “In addition to lemonade, this stand offered soda, water and snowcones.”

Montag said permits are $30 and are valid for the entire year. She added that officials would help the family obtain a permit, which would allow for inspections.

The inspector visited the Mulvaney home after four vendors at the fair approached her and asked about the stand. She spoke with the property owner, not with the child, and remained there for at least five minutes and told them they needed a permit. 

Montag said no fines were imposed as a result from the interaction.

The Mulvaney family lives across the street from the Saratoga County Fairgrounds and allows fair-goers to park on their lawn for a fee, about half of which they donate to charity. Brendan ran the lemonade stand from their back porch.

The family told the Gazette on Saturday that a woman walked up on their deck, looked around and said they needed a permit for the stand. They didn’t get the woman’s name, but she took the family’s information and tried to take a picture of the boy and the stand sign. 

The boy’s mother, Jodi Mulvaney, said she told the woman to leave. After the inspector’s visit,  the family decided to stop selling lemonade and changed it to a donation-based stand.

Brendan Mulvaney’s father, Sean, on Monday said he remains furious that vendors wanted to shut down his son’s lemonade stand. 

“They’re jealous over a 7-year-old,” he said. “I want to let vendors know that he’ll continue selling lemonade. I’ll do whatever it takes to make my son happy and not let vendors shut my son down.” 

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At the Saratoga County Fair, inside non-food vendors pay $40 per foot of space, while outside non-food vendors pay $30 per foot. Food vendors pay $1,150 for up to 30 feet of frontage space and $80 per additional five feet of space. Electricity and tents can cost extra. 

Sen. Jim Tedisco visited Brendan Mulvaney’s lemonade stand on Sunday afternoon. 

“There’s nothing that says America more than apple pie and kids running lemonade stands,” he said. “It boggles the mind that taxpayer dollars were used to harass a 7-year-old selling lemonade.

“What has our state government come to?”

Tedisco said he is in the process of drafting “The Lemon-Aid Law” to ensure that children can continue to operate lemonade stands on their property with supervision from a parent or guardian without a state permit. 

“Kids deserve to have the experience and develop interpersonal skills,” he said. “Plus, it gets them outside and off the computer.”

Tedisco said while the bill wouldn’t be acted on until January, he’s going to find an Assembly member to sponsor it. 

“My brother and I would have one every summer and no bureaucrat ever came around and said we had to shut it down.”

The Mulvaney family is hosting a lemonade fundraiser on Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. for a Ballston Spa girl who is receiving treatment at Shriner’s Hospital. 

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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