Planning a Special Event

The primary function of the Office of Special Events is to serve the community and to guide event planners through the City's special event permitting process. All reservations for special events that desire to take place on public property (streets, parks, etc.) are initiated with our office. We have created a user-friendly, one-stop process to facilitate a successful event. Our Customer's Guide to Special Events is designed to provide event planners with the necessary information about the permitting, planning and producing your event in the City of Tampa.

When is a Special Event Permit Required?

A Special Event Permit is required for any outdoor activity taking place on city property (streets, rights of way or city park) with an anticipated attendance of 301 persons or greater and/or any outdoor activity requesting amplification of sound (i.e., DJ, sound system with speakers, etc).

A Facility Reservation Permit is issued by the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department and is required for events taking place in a city park with an estimated number of participants and spectators of up to 25-300.  A Facility Reservation Permit application must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the date of the event.

How do I apply for a Special Event Permit?

Application Process

  • Complete the application in its entirety and submit the application and $50 processing fee within the Special Event Filing Deadlines listed below:
    • Not less than 60 days prior to the first proposed event date for an event that occurs solely in a park and does not require any city services or street closure
    • Not less than 90 days for any event requiring street closures, city services or City of Tampa Temporary Alcohol Use Application
  • A letter  and cost estimate for city services will be to sent to the applicant outlining the requirements for the event.
  • Upon receipt of the applicants acceptance of the requirements, costs and deposit, an event coordination meeting with applicable city departments will be scheduled.
  • Depending on the type of event, the applicant may be required to obtain additional permits.
  • Upon final approval and review by the Event Manager, a permit is issued that includes certain conditions and/or restrictions for which the applicant will be responsible to meet.

Things to Remember when Filing an Application

  • Submission of a Special Event or Facility Use Application constitutes a request to use park space for the purpose of an event and does not guarantee event approval.
  • Incomplete applications will not be processed. 
  • A completed application must include a highly detailed concept site plan plus any auxiliary permit application forms and planning documents. 
  • Insurance, naming the City of Tampa as an additional insured and covering the overall event dates and times (from set-up to breakdown), is required for all events.  Evidence of this insurance must be submitted and approved 30 days prior to the initial set-up date.

Event Managers

The Office of Special Events will assign an Event Manager to each applicant upon receipt of the Special Event Application. The Event Manager will assist the applicant through the entire permitting process and will act as a liaison for all required city services. The Event Manager will schedule a pre-event meeting with the applicants and all applicable city departments to review the Special Event Application, site plan and timelines.

Cost Estimates

A cost estimate for city services will be prepared by the Office of Special Events for each event based on information submitted in the Special Event Application. Upon the applicant's agreement to pay all associated event costs, the event coordination and permit process will begin. A non-refundable application fee is required to submit a Special Event Application.

A security/damage deposit may be required for all events. The deposit will be refunded upon verification by city staff that the rental area has been returned to a condition similar to that prior to use. In the event of damages, the applicant will be responsible for all costs associated with damages to park facilities, equipment, furnishings, grounds and right-of-ways, including by not limited to labor, materials and equipment required to complete repairs.

Event Cancellation or Postponement

If an applicant cancels or postpones a scheduled event prior to the commencement, they will be entitled to a complete refund excluding the application fee and deposit, if notice of the cancellation or postponement is provided a minimum of 30 days prior to the first scheduled day (including move-in). No refunds will be issued for cancellations or postponements made 29 days prior to the first scheduled day except if the event is canceled by the City of Tampa due to a declaration of a state of emergency, issuance of a tropical storm, hurricane warning, or warning of severe inclement weather by the county.

The City of Tampa may cancel or postpone an event without prior notice for any condition affecting the public health or safety of the City or any condition that would place facilities, grounds or other natural resources at risk of damage or destruction if the event were permitted to take place.

The City of Tampa will not confirm a future date until both application fee and deposit are paid in full.

Denial or Rejection of a Special Event Permit Application

The Office of Special Events may reject or deny a permit application on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Failure to submit an application within the time periods outlined in Ch. 28 of the Tampa City Code, The Special Events Ordinance.
  • The application is not executed properly or is incomplete.
  • The application contains material misrepresentation or fraudulent information.
  • The applicant owes the City of Tampa money from another event, services provided or damages to city property.
  • The Office of Special Events has already has received a completed application and given preliminary approval for the same date and or space.
  • If the use or the event would conflict with previously planned programs organized and conducted by the city or non-governmental agencies previously scheduled for the same time and place.
  • The applicant does not must comply with all applicable city ordinances, traffic rules, park rules and regulations, state health laws, fire codes and liquor licensing regulations.
  • The use or event proposed by the applicant would present an unreasonable danger to health or safety of the public or applicant.
  • If the applicant cannot comply with applicable local, state and federal license requirements for all or part of the planned event.
  • If the use or event is prohibited by law.