The City of Santa Clara has established the special event procedure to help you coordinate the various approvals and logistics required for holding events on outdoor public and private property. Examples of activities requiring a Special Event Permit include festivals, carnivals, parades, runs/walks and farmers’ markets. The City of Santa Clara Parks & Recreation Department manages the special event permit process and serves as liaison between City departments and the event organizer.
A special event is a temporary outdoor event or gathering, using either public or private property (excluding city public parks), which involves one or more of the following activities:
• closing a public street;
• blocking or restriction of public property;
• sale of merchandise;
• food or beverages on public property or on private property where otherwise prohibited by ordinance;
• installation of a tent, stage, table, chairs, band shell, trailer, van portable building, grandstand, or bleachers;
• placement of portable toilets (unless designated for construction purposes);
• rental of a public park by a group of 50 persons or more (SCCC 9.35);
• placement of temporary no-parking, directional, oversize or identification signs or banners in or over a public right-of-way, or on private property where otherwise prohibited by zoning or ordinance.
Depending on the proposed event venue, activities, components, attendance and unique circumstances of the event, additional permitting or licenses may be required. Please note: the Santa Clara Police Department will make a determination if there are not enough resources to ensure public safety during your event. If this is the case, you may be asked to adjust the dates or times of your event.
Special Event Permit Process
1. Event organizer selects site, plans event components, creates event diagram and obtains traffic plans (if necessary)
2. Submit a completed Permitted Special Event Application and supplemental documentation (e.g., applications for required permits, event diagram [to include details, size/dimensions and location of event set up, power locations, tents and staging, etc.], map of route/street closures, and IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter if applicable) and permit fee to the Parks & Recreation Administration Office at least sixty (60) days prior to the event date. Applications will not be processed until they are complete with all required supplemental documents and the application fee is paid.
3. Application Review – a representative from Parks & Recreation will serve as the primary point of contact during the processing of the permit. The representative will review the application for potential City service impacts then refers the application to the City Manager’s Office and City departments staff for coordination of the event date and location.
4. Issuance of additional permit applications (if necessary)
5. Once all stakeholders and city services sign off on the event and the event has received all necessary permitting, then the organizer can execute the event.
6. Post-Event Review: Parks & Recreation will review feedback from a variety of sources (police, nearby businesses, constituent comments, etc), as well as the management of the event site. The event organizer is responsible for damage or clean-up. The City may suggestions ways to improve the event in the future.
Various park buildings, picnic areas, community centers and fields are available for use by residents, community groups and organizations. For information on available facilities and parks, please visit Parks & Recreation Rentals or call 408-615-3140.
If you are a neighborhood organization looking to host a block party, please visit Neighborhood Block Party or call 408-615-2310.
For special events on Triton Museum grounds, including the Jamison Brown House, please contact the Triton Facility Rental Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 669-274-7928.
Beginning in September 2018, non-profit organizations registered within the City of Santa Clara are able to apply for a no-fee parade permit that covers the activities associated with processing the permit application, street closure, traffic control, hanging of banners, amplified sound, and police staffing, as applicable. For more information on the no-fee Parade Permit or to obtain a permit, please visit Parade Permits.
Need assistance or have questions?
We’re happy to assist you. Please email PRCustomerServe@SantaClaraCA.gov.
Can the permit fees be waived? Non-profits interested in hosting a program/event which provides a benefit to Santa Clara residents, contributes positively to the recognition and image of the City of Santa Clara, open to the general public, aligns with established Council goals, demonstrates that they can meet the necessary requirements of the Sponsorship Agreement are able to apply for city sponsorship. If your organization is interested in applying for city sponsorship, please visit Community Grant Program or email Christine Jung at email@example.com
I would like to serve food or host a food vendor at my event, do I need a permit? The Santa Clara County Office of Public Health manages and issues permits for temporary food facilities (TFF) at community events. For more information and to obtain a Temporary Food Permit, please visit Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health or call (408) 918-3400 and ask to speak to Administrative Support for Temporary Events.
If I have to cancel my event, can I get my application fee refunded? The application fee is non-refundable. Nevertheless, in the case of extenuating circumstances, your event may be able to be rescheduled (within 30 days) pending City approval.
Can I hang a promotional banner on City property? The display of banners of freestanding signs on public property is limited to dedicated structures at City parks that advertise public events of a non-commercial nature. The event must be free of charge or aimed at raising funds for the non-profit sponsor. Display of banners of freestanding signs must be approved, scheduled and coordinated by the Parks & Recreation Department. To obtain a Banner Display Request, please email PRCustomerServe@santaclaraca.gov or call (408) 615-3140.
I’m interesting in hosting an event at a public park, such as the Central Park Pavilion, who should I contact? For all events on city parks, fields, or recreational facilities, please visit Parks & Recreation Rentals or call 408-615-3140.
Interested in sponsoring a City public event? The City of Santa Clara Parks & Recreation Department hosts a variety of popular public events drawing thousands of community members together in celebration, such as Annual Holiday Tree Lighting, Egg Extravaganza, 4th of July Celebration & Fireworks, and Art & Wine Festival. If your organization is interested sponsoring a City public event, please email PRCustomerServe@SantaClaraCA.gov or call 408-615-3140.