Special Event Resources

General Policy Statement

The City of Rochester sponsors and encourages its citizens to sponsor special events that enhance the quality of life for residents of the entire metropolitan community and facilitate the use of City-owned recreation and park facilities. The City has established policies and procedures to ensure the success of such events by providing a system for advance planning and standard information and basic ground rules that allow City special events sponsors and facility users to achieve their mutual goals.

General Information

The City provides a wide variety of facilities and services for special events and general leisure time use. Individuals or groups wishing to make use of City facilities, equipment and/or services may apply through the Bureau of Communications or the Department of Recreation & Youth Services, Bureau of Recreation.

Permit Requirements

Permits are required for activities that are special events and for reserved use of recreation and park facilities. Special Events are:

  1. Pre-planned major activities;
  2. Pre-planned major activities involving use of public and/or private property; 
  3. Pre-planned major activities involving use of public and/or private property and requiring City support services, including police support. Such activities are customarily held for purposes of entertainment, celebration, amusement, cultural recognition, arts and crafts displays and/or sales and sports demonstrations or competitions aimed at drawing crowds that may impact surround neighborhoods and traffic flow.

Obtaining/Submitting Applications

The City’s Bureau of Communications is responsible for distributing, receiving and processing all Special Event Permit applications and for coordinating review of applications by appropriate City departments. The Bureau of Communications is located in City Hall, 30 Church Street, Room 202A, Rochester, New York 14614. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For additional information, please call (585) 428-6690 or learn more about the special event permit.

The City’s Department of Recreation and Youth Services/ Bureau of Recreation is responsible for distributing, reviewing, and processing all Facilty Use Permit applications for the use of athletic, recreation and park facilities. The Bureau’s main office is located 400 Dewey Ave., Rochester, New York 14613. The Bureau’s hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For additional information please call 428-6755 or learn more about the facility use permit.

The Special Events Funding Application (SEFA)

To creat a more efficient and transparent process, the Bureau of Communications & Special Events is launching the Special Events Funding Application (SEFA) process. The SEFA will be utilized by qualifying events that wish to apply for special event funding. Annual deadlines allow both the city and events to better prepare for the busy summer season.

Learn More about SEFA



Call the Office of Special Events at (585) 428-6690 or send us an email to get the process started!