Special Event Permits

Festivals, Parades, Moving Athletic Events, Block Parties and other Special Events in Rochester

The City is currently accepting applications for special events. We encourage the use of the fillable PDFs that can be downloaded here and emailed to our staff. Staff will hold follow up meetings via Zoom or phone calls. Once you send in your application, we will email you a link to pay the application fee online.

If you have any questions, please send an email to Kara Osipovitch, Special Events manager to discuss in more detail. 

The City of Rochester encourages 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 dynamic 

A summertime RPO concert at Corn Hill Landingatmosphere 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.

Annual Deadline for ALL Major Events is May 1

May 1 is the final day to submit an application for a festival or major event for Summer 2022.   All applications must be handed in to the Office of Special Events and they must be COMPLETE- fee paid, site plans, insurance, all detail, etc.  With more than 500 events to process each year, we cannot continue to accept applications for major events after this deadline. If you have not submitted an application by May 1,  you will be looking toward a 2023 date.

Note: block parties are not included in this deadline; they will be accepted on a rolling basis as long as they are handed in one month prior to the date of the block party.

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. 

**After you have filled out your application, please email it to Kelly Muniz and you will then be sent a link to pay your fee online. If you'd like to pay by check, you can mail it to (with the event name on the memo line) to:  

30 Church St. Room 203A
Rochester, NY 14614   

PLEASE NOTE:  We can no longer accept incomplete applications.  Your application WILL NOT be accepted without the following components:

For ALL EVENTS, have you:
•included your application fee?
•included you site plan?
•signed your application?

For events serving alcohol, have you:
•included your DRAM Insurance certificate and endorsement page?
•included all the required detail on your security company?

For runs/walks/bike rides, have you:
•included a map of the route?
•included turn by turn, written steps?
•included copies of your City Parks and County Parks application?
emailed the route to Carly Farineau?

Type Fee Download the Application
Festival $200 Special Events Application     
Moving Athletic (races, walks, bicycling event, etc)   $100  Special Events Application
Parade/Motorcade $100   Special Events Application
Block Party (not permitted on Memorial Day Weekend,
July 4th Weekend or Labor Day Weekend)
$40 Block Party 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.

Downtown Races and Walks

If you are planning a NEW race or walk on-street downtown, you must select a pre-approved route. Please email Carly Farineau to begin the process before you hand in your application.

Fire Safety Rules

To ensure that your event is complying with the Rochester Fire Department rules for using power and/or cooking at events, please carefully read the fire safety guidelines for events before filling out your application. 

Security Deposit Policy

At the discretion of the Director of Communication & under certain circumstances, the special event permit applicant or grantee  shall provide the City with a refundable security deposit or unconditional letter of credit in an amount determined by the Director of Communications. 

Download the policy.

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.

Street Preaching

The City is no longer issuing street preaching permits because, under the First Amendment, street preaching is a right of the people that does not require a permit. Preaching on the sidewalks is part of free speech protected under the First Amendment.   Learn more.


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


For questions regarding major festivals, events on Parcel 5 or MLK Park, contact Joe Alessi

For questions regarding all athletic events, parades, and neighborhood festivals, contact Carly Farineau

All other questions, contact Kara Osipovitch

Or call the Office of Special Events at (585) 428-6690. The Office is located at City Hall, 30 Church St, Room 203A.