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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a special event permit

If you’d like to host a special event such as a carnival, festival, demonstration, flea market, or concert, you may need a special events permit. This permit is required for any event that uses:

  • City-owned or occupied property.
  • City equipment.
  • City services.

The Office of Special Events works with other City departments to make sure that event hosts have all the necessary:

  • Permits.
  • Licenses.
  • Agreements.
  • Insurance.

Submitting an application does not guarantee that you will get a permit. Event organizers should not issue any press releases, post advertisements, or sell tickets until the necessary approvals and permits have been issued.

For events that will take place in Parks and Recreation space such as a park, field, or rec center, you need permits from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

When to apply

The application fee varies based on when you apply.

  • Standard application fee: $25 (at least 90 days in advance, and all demonstrations)
  • Expedited application fee: $75 (less than 90 days in advance)

Additional rules for demonstrations

Applications for demonstrations should be submitted at least five business days before the proposed event date.

Exceptions will be made if the proposed demonstration is a spontaneously planned event. This includes responses to recent or future political events, or other announcements, decisions, determinations, or declarations.

If you want to request the rental and use of City-owned equipment for your demonstration, you must apply at least 60 business days before the event date.

How to apply

Complete an application for a special event permit.

You’re encouraged to include maps, plans, and supporting documentation with your application.

Refer to the event checklist below to learn about the different permissions and plans that are commonly needed.

Submit your application to OSE.

You can email your application and supporting materials to You can also submit them in person or by mail to:

Office of Special Events
One Parkway Building
1515 Arch St., Floor 15
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Pay for your application.

If you apply by email, you can pay for your application online. If you apply in person or by mail, you can include payment with your application.

Application fees are nonrefundable and applications will not be processed until the application fee is paid in full. This includes the late fee, if applicable.

Cash is not accepted. Checks or money orders must be made payable to the City of Philadelphia.

Email submissions will receive an emailed receipt with a reference number within two business days.

If your application is accepted, the Office of Special Events will issue a permit.

Event checklist

The requirements for special events vary widely. Use the list below to find out what other requirements and approvals you may need for your event.

Road closures

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Food and beverages

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Farmers markets

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Carnivals and street fairs

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Alcoholic beverages

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Tents and canopies

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Portable restrooms

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Merchandise sales

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Other City services

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Fireworks and pyrotechnics

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EMS coverage

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