Planning a Special Event

Special Event Permit Process

All reservations for special events (festivals, parades, road races) that desire to take place on public property (streets, parks, etc.) are initiated within the Office of Special Events. We have created a user-friendly, one-stop process to facilitate a successful event. 

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 more.

A Facility Use 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 proposed event date.

If you are inquiring about a building rental, contact the facility directly. If you are inquiring for shelters, call the Shelter Reservation Office at 813-274-8184.

  • Complete the application in its entirety and submit with a $50 processing fee within the Special Event Filing Deadlines listed below:
    •  A minimum of 60 days prior to the first proposed event date for an event that occurs solely in a park and does not require any street closure.
    • A minimum of 90 days for any event requiring street closures, city services, and/or a Temporary Alcohol Use Application
  • A letter and cost estimate for city services will be sent to the applicant outlining the requirements for the event.
  • Upon receipt of the applicant's 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

  • A submitted Special Event or Facility Use Application does not guarantee event approval.
  • Incomplete applications are not processed. 
  • A detailed site plan plus any auxiliary permit application forms and planning documents. 
  • An insurance certificate that names the City as additionally insured. Coverage must include all event dates and times (from set-up to breakdown).  Insurance must be submitted and approved 30 days before the initial set-up date.

Event Managers

The Office of Special Events assigns an Event Manager to each Special Event. The Event Manager assists the event planner/organizer through the entire permitting process. The Event Manager acts as a liaison for all required city services. A pre-event meeting will review site plan and timelines.

Cost Estimates

The Event Manager will prepare a cost estimate for city services for each event. The permit process begin when the event organizer/planner agrees to pay event costs.

A security/damage deposit is required for all events. The deposit will be refunded upon verification by city staff that the rental area is in a condition like before use. Applicants are responsible for all costs associated with damages to park facilities, equipment, furnishings, grounds and right-of-ways. This includes but is not limited to labor, materials and equipment required to complete repairs.

Event Cancellation or Postponement

If an applicant cancels or postpones a scheduled event 30 days before it starts, they will receive a complete refund excluding the application fee and deposit.

No refunds will be issued for cancellations or postponements made 29 days before the first scheduled day. except if the event is canceled by the City of Tampa due to a declaration of a state of emergency.

The City of Tampa may cancel or postpone an event without notice for any condition affecting the public health or safety of the City. These condition may risk damage or destroy facilities, grounds or other natural resources.

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 incomplete.
  • The application contains material misrepresentation or fraudulent information.
  • The applicant owes money to the City from another event, services provided or damages to city property.
  • Another completed application was received and given preliminary approval for the same date and or space.
  • If the event conflicts with planned programs conducted by the city or non-governmental agencies for the same date and times.
  • The applicant does not follow 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 follow applicable local, state and federal license requirements for all or part of the planned event.
  • If the use or event is against the law.