Special Event Permits

Festivals, parades, moving athletic events, block parties and other special events in Rochester

It is the policy of the City of Rochester to encourage the occurrence of special events that enhance the quality of life, provide entertainment and other leisure activities, promote local economic health, attract visitors, and contribute to the dynamicA summertime RPO concert at Corn Hill Landing atmosphere of the community. It is the City's hope to offer applicants support in planning a wide variety of safe and successful events that will serve diverse audiences and create minimal disruption to the surrounding areas.

Festivals, Races /Walks, parades, concerts, film shoots, fireworks displays, rallies, demonstrations, and block parties (all block parties are required to end by dusk), etc require a Special Event Permit.

Before you begin to plan your event, please contact the Office of Special Events as early in the process as possible so that staff can help make your event as successful as it can be.

Applications and Requirements for a Special Event Permit

Complete the appropriate permit application in its entirety. Each application will guide you through what information and documentation is needed to secure a permit for your special event.    

Type  Fee  Download the Application 
Festival $200  Special Event Permit Application   
Moving Athletic (races, walks, bicycling event, etc)   $100 Special Event Permit Application   
Parade/Motorcade $100 Special Event Permit Application  
Block Party (not permitted on Memorial Day Weekend,
July 4th Weekend or Labor Day Weekend)
$40 Block Party Permit Application
Street Closing Petition   
Film Shoots $70 First, contact the Rochester/Finger Lakes Film and Video Office.  
Then download the Film Permit  


Events Utilizing Parks

If a park is within your event's footprint- whether it be for staging, registration, a race or walk, a portion or leg of your race/walk route, post-event activities, or for anything else- you need to have the use of that park approved by the City's Department of Recreation and Youth Services or by Monroe County's Department of Parks. This will ensure that the park is reserved for your use that day and that another event is not scheduled in conflict.

  • City park: Facilities Use Permit 
  • Monroe County Park: Highland Park, Genesee Valley Park (east side), Ontario Beach Park, and parts of Durand Beach are maintained by the County and require a County permit as well as a City permit. Please contact Monroe County Parks at (585) 753-7281 or visit http://www.monroecounty.gov/parks for more information. If your event utilizes one of these county-run parks, you will need a permit from the county before you begin the special events process with the City.

Security Deposit/Unconditional Letter of Credit


At the discretion of the Director of Communications, the special event permit applicant may be asked to provide the City with a refundable security deposit or unconditional letter of credit. 

New Insurance Requirements

All events must submit general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence/$2,000,000 aggregate, and must name the "City of Rochester, 30 Church Street, Rochester NY 14614" as additional insured. The certificate must include the name and date of the event in the description space. The insured party must match the applicant name or sponsoring organization. All insurance policies must include the actual endorsement form!

City Code Amendment

In December 2012, City Council passed an ordinance that amended the City Code to add language regarding special event permits. The new language codifies many of the requirements already in place for special events permit applicants. Event organizers should be aware of two main changes. First, events are no longer allowed to charge admission to a closed city street. Waivers to this rule may be granted by the Director of Communications for an event that is held one time a year, and for one day only, upon finding that it will maintain reasonable free pedestrian access through the street closure area. Next, a block party is the only type of event that will require the use of the Street Closing Petition for street closure approval. Festivals and other events that request street closures will be reviewed by the Office of Special Events on a variety of factors. 

Food Trucks at Special Events

A special event may have food truck vending within its footprint as long as the food truck has successfully completed the Rochester Fire Department's Mobile Vehicle Safety Training & Inspection process. Applicants should note the names of any food trucks planning to vend at their events on the special event application in the appropriate space.

If the event does not have a street closure or a clearly defined footprint (i.e. a sidewalk event), the City will work with the applicant to determine a safe spot for the food truck to vend.

If you have questions regarding food trucks at special events, call Kara Osipovitch at (585) 428-6733 or email her. 


The use of drones is strictly prohibited at events in the city of Rochester. For more information, please refer to Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.


The City of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department are available to help organizers of demonstrations plan safe and successful events. To that end, the police department has prepared a document that should be consulted before planning a demonstration.

Rochester Police Department Demonstration Guidelines 


Contact the Office of Special Events at (585) 428-6690, email us, or come to City Hall, 30 Church Street, Room 203A.