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Special Events

What is a Special Event?#

A Special Event is defined by the City of Fort Collins as a:

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 required for block parties that include an arterial or connector street closure. For information about block party permit application and block party trailer reservation please visit Neighborhood Services website, contact Neighborhood Services at or call Neighborhood Services front desk at 970.224.6046. 

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 streets, 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.

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:

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.

However, any individual or advocacy group desiring to conduct a demonstration or other free speech activity in the City, including on private property where the activity impacts a public right-of-way or adjacent public property use, shall file a Demonstration Notification Request at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the free speech activity. Failure to provide such notice may result in restriction, relocation, or prohibition of the activity. (Fort Collins Municipal Code Sec. 23.5-4 Rev. 2-6-18)

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.

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.

Applications Deadlines

  • 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
  • 45 business days before the date of the event for all other events not serving alcohol
  • 20 business days before the date of the event for block parties
  • 24 hours for Demonstration Reservation Requests

Other requirements, for more information about other requirements, see the Special Event Planning Guide.

  • 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. Site map submission example.
  • Traffic control plan: All events involving road or lane closures, require a Special Event Permit and a Work Area Traffic Control Plan approval. It is your responsibility to provide traffic control devices, obtained from a professional traffic control company, at your expense. Other requirements will be determined by the size, scope and impacts of your event.
  • Application Fee: A $100 application fee is required for all events, except block parties or First Amendment activities. There is no application fee for Block Parties or Demonstrations. 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:
    • $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

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:

  • $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

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.

  • 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)
  • Poudre Fire Authority is implementing a $250 Special Event Review and Inspection fee for indoor and /or outdoor events over 1,000 people and / or with 4+ permitted temporary membrane structures. 
  • 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 street or sidewalk blockages or closures for Block Parties – 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.