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Special Events Planning Guide

The Special Events Planning Guide is designed to provide you with the necessary current information about permitting, planning and producing your event. Click on the checkboxes (on the left) that apply to your event details and the relevant departments, agencies and documents will be displayed.

The following requirements apply to all events:

  • Compliance with the Permit Requirements is expected, failure to comply may result in denial of future application.
  • Approval of the application may be dependent on the size, time and location of the event and the ability to ensure public/property safety concerns are addressed.
  • There are applicable fees and/or security deposits required with most applications and payment is due prior to permit being issued.
  • Applications have necessary timelines determined to allow for proper review of the application. If an application is submitted after the timeline, it may result in denial of the application.
  • The City does not provide event planning services. However, City departments help provide guidance to ensure proper documentation is completed.

Completion of an application does NOT guarantee your space and/or a permit for your event. Once the application is approved and any fees/deposits are collected, the customer will receive a Permit for the event via email.

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Event Details

(check all that apply)

Required Documents, Department Contact Information

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Road Closures

All road closures require a Special Event Permit. Applicant will be required to provide a traffic route map and signatures of affected residents or businesses. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide traffic control devices. Application fee will be waived for neighborhood block parties.

Contact(s):

  • Syl Mireles: or 970-221-6815
  • Police Services: or 970-221-6555

Public Park or Recreation Trail

A Large Event Request form is required for group of 100 or greater, and provides exclusive use of the shelter and/or surrounding area. We also require the Large Event form for groups of any size, if the group is planning to have a jumping castle or other apparatus at their event. The fee range is $100-$550 depending upon the size of the group with an additional $250.00 security deposit which is returned if the park is left clean and undamaged. Payment is required at time of reservation.

The Trail Use permit is required for running events taking place on the trails. Only 4 running events per year are allowed. The fee is $250.00 with an additional $250.00 security deposit which is refunded if the trails are left clean and undamaged; payment is required at time of reservation. There are NO bike races allowed on the trails.

Contact(s):

  • Parks department;

Old Town Square

If you are planning on holding an event in Old Town Square, you must contact the Downtown Business Association before beginning the permit application process.

Contact(s):

  • Downtown Business Association, 970-484-6500

Other City Public Space

Events wishing to utilize all or a portion of Parking Areas (lots and/or spaces), Sidewalks and/or Alleys may require permitting from Parking Services and/or Police Services

Events wishing to utilize City Owned Property (not a park) need to contact Real Estate Services to request a Revocable Permit, as well as Police Services for a Special Events Permit.

A permit will be required from Natural Areas for events wishing to use a Natural Area or a Natural Area Facility.

Contact(s):

  • or 970-416-2815
  • or 970-221-6555
  • or 970-221-6617
  • Real Estate Service: or 970-416-2276

County Public Space

Contact Larimer County regarding all open space activities.

Contact(s):

  • Larimer County, 970-498-7000

Residential Block Party

Residential (Neighborhood) Block Parties build community and benefit everyone. Neighborhood grants can be applied for to help off-set costs. A Special Event Permit is only required if a road closure is involved in which case a traffic control plan may be required. Although the permit fee is typically waived, applicants will be responsible for providing barricades or other traffic control equipment/signs through a private vendor at their expense.

Contact(s):

  • or 970-224-6046
  • or 970-221-6555
  • or 970-221-6630

Less than 5,000 Participants

Events ranging in size from 1-5,000 participants may require permitting from various departments/agencies depending on the scope and location of the event. As various boxes are checked in "Location" and "Event Specifics" you'll be directed to the proper contacts and permits required for your event. A certificate of insurance may also be required.

Contact(s):

  • Shawn McGaffin;
  • Special Events Contact;

More than 5,000 Participants

Events with more than 5,000 participants will require permitting from various departments/agencies depending on the scope and location of the event. As various boxes are checked in Location and Event Specifics you'll be directed to the proper contacts and permits required for your event. In addition, Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) will require an Incident Action Plan be completed to plan for unforeseen emergencies. PFA may charge the event for services, including but not limited to, on-site walk through, plan review, on-site incident command, on-site emergency care, and fire prevention. A certificate of insurance may also be required.

Contact(s):

  • Shawn McGaffin;

Alcohol

If alcohol is to be present at the event, you must contact the City of Fort Collins Deputy City Clerk at 970-221-6315 to obtain a permit. Only those events hosted by non-profit organizations or political candidates are eligible for a Liquor Special Event Permit.

Contact(s):

  • Deputy City Clerk, 970-221-6315

Sale of Food, Beverage or Merchandise

To sell food, beverage or any type of merchandise, vendors must have a permanent City of Fort Collins Sales Tax License or obtain the City of Fort Collins Temporary Sales Tax License. For sales of food and beverage a vendor may be required to obtain a Larimer County Health Permit. Vendors are also required to contact the Colorado Department of Revenue and the Larimer County Sales Tax offices to determine what licenses are required by those jurisdictions.

Contact(s):

  • City Sales Tax Office at 221-6246
  • Larimer County Health Department at 970-498-6775
  • Larimer County Sales Tax Office at 970-498-5930
  • Colorado Department of Revenue at 970-494-9805

Amplified Sound

Decibel limits apply to all zoning districts within the City. Amplified sound may require a noise variance, particularly if your event is close to residences.

Contact(s):

  • Code Compliance at 970-224-6046

Open Burning / Open Flame Cooking

A permit must be granted by the Poudre Fire Authority for any bonfires or open burning. Event host is responsible for following any and all burn bans or fire restrictions at the time of the event. No fire shall be left unattended and should be within a permanently constructed fire pit. Open Burning is not allowed in parks except for fires in grills provided by the City or in portable grills/stoves on tables – no fire shall be left unattended.

All vendors that cook or heat food with the use of any flames or deep frying must comply with the regulations set forth by the Poudre Fire Authority. These regulations are listed on PFA's website and must be distributed by the permit holder to each of the vendors prior to the beginning of the event. All vendors that cook or heat food with the use of any flames or deep frying must comply with the regulations set forth by the Poudre Fire Authority. These regulations are listed on the PFA's website and must be distributed by the permit holder to each of the vendors prior to the beginning of the event.

Contact(s):

  • PFA: Shawn Brann, or 970-416-2874
  • PFA: Shawn Brann, or 970-416-2863

Fireworks

Fireworks at special events require an event sponsor to contract with a Fireworks Display Operator licensed by the State of Colorado. The application for a display permit is submitted by the Display Operator to the Poudre Fire Authority for review. At times it may be necessary to staff a display with a fire engine and crew. The cost of this service is borne by the event sponsor. The Application to Display Permit from PFA does not automatically grant permission to shoot fireworks at your event. Other permits may be required and location of the event will be a determining factor in approving or denying the fireworks shoot at the event.

Contact(s):

  • Shawn Brann; or 970-416-2874

Tents larger than 400 Square Feet

Any tent or air supported membrane structure greater than 400 square feet requires a tent permit. Any canopy over 800 square feet also requires this permit. Any staking into the ground deeper than 6" will require a call to UNCC for Utility Locates (811 or 1-800-922-1987).

Contact(s):

  • PFA:

Bingo or Raffles

Many nonprofit organizations use bingo and raffles as a tool for fundraising for their organizations. Licenses and requirements are available in the bingo and raffle section of the Secretary of State's Office.

Contact(s):

  • Secretary of State, 303-894-2200

Banners or Signs

A banner permit must be obtained from the City prior to installation. These permits are free of charge.

Portable signs or those not affixed securely to a structure, motorized vehicle, or into the ground surface, are not allowed. These include a-frame, sandwich board, trailer mounted and leaning signs. Wind-driven signs such as tethered balloons are strictly prohibited. Signs which extend above fascia walls, rooftop signs, revolving/rotating signs, posters and inflatable signage objects are also not permitted.

Contact(s):

  • Zoning Department at 416-2745

Showmobile Rentals

The City's Parks Maintenance Division has a portable band shell, commonly referred to as the Showmobile, that is available for rent to groups and organizations.

Contact(s):

  • or 970-221-6660

See also:

Private Property

Private Party
If your party is solely contained on private property no permitting should be necessary. However, please check Event Specifics to make sure if any permits are required (i.e., alcohol, open flame, vendor sales, etc.) that you have the proper documentation completed. In addition, enforcement of all City ordinances will apply (i.e., noise, etc.).

Contact(s):

  • or 970-221-6780
  • City Clerk's Office 970-221-6515

Streets

Street Closure
A Special Events application and Traffic Control Plan must be completed and the applications approved for any events requiring a Street Closure. For biking/running/walking events a clear/detailed route map will also be required and must be submitted with the Special Events application for approval.

Contact(s):

  • or 970-221-6555
  • or 970-221-6630

Insurance

General liability insurance coverage is required for most special events occurring on City property. The Risk Management office will review permit applications and notify applicant of specific insurance requirements for the planned event.

Contact(s):

  • Risk Management: or 970-221-6807

March / Parade

All road closures require a Special Event Permit. Applicant will be required to provide a traffic plan that includes a route map to police services and/or parks; and notify affected residents and/or businesses. All events that impact city streets are subject to City of Fort Collins approval that could include requirements for fixed traffic control devices, volunteer course marshals/traffic monitors, paid traffic flaggers, or off-duty police officers. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide mandated traffic control devices or personnel.

If the march and/or parade starts or ends at a park a permit will be required from Parks. Depending on the scope and size of the events and what will be taking place in the park will determine the type of permit necessary.

Contact(s):

  • Parks Department: or 970-221-6660
  • Police Services: or 970-221-6555

Run/Walk/Bike

All road closures require a Special Events Permit. Applicant will be required to provide a traffic plan that includes a route map to police services and/or parks and notify affected residents and/or businesses. All events that impact city streets are subject to City of Fort Collins approval that could include requirements for fixed traffic control devices, volunteer course marshals/traffic monitors, paid traffic flaggers, or off-duty police officers. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide mandated traffic control devices or personnel.

If a run, walk or biking events starts or stops at a park and/or utilizes a trail, a permit will be required from Parks. Depending on the scope and size of the events and what will be taking place in the park or on the trail will determine the type of permit necessary. Only non-competitive run/walk/bike events may take place on the trail system. Bike races are NOT allowed on the trails and only four running events per year are allowed.

Contact(s):

  • Parks Department: or 970-221-6660
  • Police Services: or 970-221-6555

Carnivals/Circus

Carnivals may require permitting from multiple departments/agencies depending on where the carnival is taking place. Inspections and insurance will be required.

Contact(s):

  • Risk Management: or 970-221-6807
  • Zoning Inspections: 970-416-2745
  • PFA: or 970-416-2874
  • Police Services: or 970-221-6555
  • Traffic Operations: 970-221-6630
  • Code Compliance: 970-221-6046
  • Sale Tax Office: 970-221-6246
  • County: 970-498-7000

Filming

Although you can film or photograph at the park and/or along a trail, we request that you not interfere with other's use and enjoyment of the park and/or trail. Filming of park and/or trail users is not permitted without their knowledge and consent. Per City code, performing a service for commercial gain at a park and/or along a trail is not allowed, unless authorized by a permit issued by the Parks Department.

For information about using imagery of City facilities for commercial purposes, please contact the Communications & Public Involvement Office at http://www.fcgov.com/communications.

Contact(s):

  • Parks Department: or 970-221-6660
  • Police Services: or 970-221-6555