Boise & Garden City

It costs how much to run a lemonade stand in Boise? The truth behind new billboards

Four new billboards around Boise warn of the dangers of setting up a lemonade stand in Boise: You could be fined $335.

The ads on the digital billboards are for Country Time. They’re part of the brand’s “Legal-Ade” promotion encouraging people to set up illegal lemonade stands and offering to pay up to $300 for permits and fines for those charged with violating the law as it relates to lemonade.

The billboards might be right, but there’s a catch: That $335 number comes from what a Country Time spokesperson said is the “sum total of the permits and fees found that someone would need to run a lemonade stand” in the city. It isn’t the fine slapped onto your kid’s front-yard lemonade stand.

“If children are running a lemonade stand, that’s fine,” Mike Journee, spokesman for Mayor David Bieter, said in a phone interview. “We love that. It’s a part of growing up and a part of summer.”

The only actual charges related to illegal lemonade stands would be levied against adults running businesses and making a profit “in the way a kid isn’t,” Journee said. If a grown person is cited for selling lemonade without the proper licensing, he or she would face a misdemeanor charge and would have to go before a judge. Journee said it would be up to the court to set a fine.

Lemonade stands without permits are illegal in 36 states, including Idaho, according to a news release from Country Time, although it doesn’t cite any specific statute. The brand is hoping to change that, a spokesperson said.

Links on the official Legal-Ade website encourage people living in states without lemonade stand laws to contact their state representatives to “legalize lemonade.” It also encourages people to print signs and read of the success people in states such as Colorado have had in changing lemonade laws.

It also offers instructions for how to get up to $300 reimbursed if a government entity does fine you, but in Boise, you probably won’t need that.

“Kids in front of their house getting fined isn’t a thing,” Journee said. “We never mess with them at all.”

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.