Special Event Permit Guidelines
This information has been prepared to assist you in planning and meeting the necessary requirements for a safe and enjoyable event. If you have any questions, see the Event Planning Guide. If you have additional questions after reviewing the guide, please contact the Special Event Coordinator at (970) 416-2303 or e-mail your questions to email@example.com.
What is a “Special Event”?
A Special Event is defined by the City of Fort Collins as:
Community Events: Festivals, arts and crafts shows, outdoor concerts, fun runs or walks, bike or foot races, carnivals, or any other event that interferes with pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or takes place on private property and interferes with pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or takes place on City owned/leased property including parks, trails, or open space.
Parade: March or procession consisting of persons, animals or vehicles, or combination thereof, on any street or highway, including sidewalks, which obstructs, delays or interferes with the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic or does not comply with traffic laws or controls.
Block Party: A social gathering of neighbors on a residential street, or portion of it. A Block Party includes, but is not limited to barbecues, picnics, music, or games. A special event permit is only required for block parties that include a street closure.
If your event falls into one of the categories above, you will need to submit a Special Event Permit application, so please keep reading.
The following Events do not require a Special Event Permit:
Funeral or Funeral Procession: A coordinated array of motor vehicles in which the lead vehicle displays a sign, pennant, flag, or other insignia furnished by a funeral home, unless led by a state or local law enforcement vehicle.
Demonstration: A rally, picketing, speech, march, vigil, religious service, or similar gathering that involves expression of views or grievances engaged by more than one person and occurs on a street or highway, including sidewalks, or on public property owned or leased by the City.
Private Event: A wedding, family reunion, birthday party, or similar event that is held on private property or solely contained within a park and does not involve street closures or significant impact to traffic flow on roads surrounding the private property or park. If a Private Event is to be held in a park, organizer must contact the Parks Department at (970) 221-6261 to reserve a park location.
Fort Collins' Old Town Square: Events held entirely within Fort Collins' Old Town Square, should contact the Downtown Development Authority for information and reservations.
A completed application, with all required attachments, must be submitted to the Special Events Coordinator not less than:
- 20 business days before the date of the event for block parties
- 45 business days before the date of the event for all other events not serving alcohol
- 60 business days before the date of the event for events involving the sale or service of alcohol, or for events at the Civic Center Park/Washington Park/Legacy Park/Oak Street Plaza event venue
These deadlines provide us a sufficient amount of time to process your application. Applications are reviewed by the Police Department, Safety, Security & Risk Management, Poudre Fire Authority (PFA), Parks, Traffic Operations, and other applicable departments prior to approval.
All required attachments for Special Event Permit applications must be submitted no later than 15 business days prior to the date of the event. The City reserves the right to deny the Event if the Applicant fails to comply with these application deadlines.
Applications may not be submitted sooner than one year prior to your event date.
There shall be no advertising of an event until the location on the Special Event Permit application has been reviewed/approved by the applicable departments.
If your event will take place on Larimer County roads or lands, if alcohol is to be served at the event, or if you plan to have a raffle, there are other permits you may have to obtain from the state or county.
- Site Plan and/or Route Map: A site plan and/or route map is required for all events. Please upload a copy with your application.
- Application Fee: A $100 application fee is required for all events, except block parties. There is no application fee for block parties. Events produced by a not-for-profit organization may receive a reduced application processing fee of $50.00. The Applicant must provide a copy of the letter which states that the organization is a not-for-profit under the Internal Revenue Code and lists the tax-exempt ID number and/or a copy of the tax-exempt certificate must also be attached. These fees cover administrative costs for review of the application and issuance of the permit.
Other Fees: All events, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, will be responsible for paying any applicable security deposits, as well as any applicable rental fees for city parks, trails, or open spaces. Rental fees for City parks and trails are:
A fee based on the tiered structure below, must be paid by the Applicant prior to issuance of the Trail Use Permit. Trail use fees are:
- $125 per day for events under 250 people
- $250 per day for events with 250 to 999 people
- $400 per day for events with 1000 to 2499 people
- $600 per day for events over 2500 to 4999 people
- $1000 per day for events with 5000+ people
There may be additional fees and deposits associated with your event depending on the location, size, and the nature of your event. Please see the Special Event Guide for additional information.
- $50 for Fun Run/Walk on Trails under 50 people
- $150 for Fun Run/Walks on Trails 50-150 people
- $250 for Fun Run/Walks on Trails over 150 people
- $275 for Competitive Races/Qualifiers under 100 people
- $375 for Competitive Races/Qualifiers 100-500
- $500 for Competitive Races/Qualifiers over 500
- A Security/Damage Deposit of two-hundred and fifty dollars ($250) must be paid to the Parks Department for issuance of the Special Event Permit. This deposit, or any portion thereof, may be retained by the City to pay for any damage caused to the park or City property, or for any costs incurred by the City due to the use of the park or City property by the event. A larger damage deposit may be required if the City reasonably determines that the risk of any damage to City property from the event exceeds $250. The Customer is responsible for any damage to City property that is not covered by the security deposit.
Specific to Civic Center Park Event Area (Washington Park & Civic Center Park) or events with alcohol, security/damage deposit amounts are as follows:
- $5,000.00 for groups of 2,500 or greater
- $2,500.00 for groups of 1,500-2,499
- $1,500.00 for groups of 500-1,499
- $500.00 for groups less than 500
Notwithstanding any additional material or property damage arising from use, which will be collected as stated in the permit, the following percentage of the security deposit will be retained if any of the above permit conditions are not met:
- 25% set up prior to time approved by Coordinator
- 25% late tear down/cleanliness of space
- 50% additional set up beyond stated equipment (e.g., tents when permit stated stage only)
- Reimbursement and Indemnification Agreement: Prior to issuance of a permit, the applicant, and sponsor if applicable, must sign a Reimbursement and Indemnification agreement. This Agreement indemnifies the City of Fort Collins from any liability, which may arise as a result of the special event. This Agreement is not required if the applicant is a department or facility of the City of Fort Collins.
- Signatures of affected residents and/or businesses: Signatures of affected residents and/or businesses are required for any street or sidewalk blockages or closures – including residences above businesses unless other arrangements have been made with the Special Event Coordinator.
NOTE: A special event permit is not a permit to violate City codes, ordinances, rules, or regulations. If a violation occurs, it may result in citation(s) issued to the event applicant/responsible person.
Proceed to Event Application