Office of Special Events

Party in the Park(4)Special Events - City of Rochester, NY

The Office of Special Events showcases the vitality of Rochester by hosting, sponsoring, or permitting events that enhance a strong sense of community and attract visitors. The city permits over 500 annual events with well over 1.5 million people attending them. 

Annual events organized and administered by the City of Rochester include festivals, concerts, parades, runs, walks, and more.

When Do I Need a Special Event Permit?

The Office of Special Events issues permits for events that meet all of the following criteria:
  • Held outside incorporating City-owned property such as streets, parks, parcels, or lots;
  • Disrupts the regular flow of pedestrian or vehicular activity in the area the event is being held;
  • Open to the public via free entrance or via tickets/entrance fee.

The City does NOT issue Special Event permits for:

  • Indoor events
  • Events held on private property
  • Private events such as birthdays, baby showers, memorials, graduations, etc. City lodges, R-Centers, and shelters are able to be reserved for private events through R-Central Online.

Special Events Permit Application

Festivals, races/walks, parades, concerts, block parties, film shoots, fireworks displays, rallies, demonstrations, etc. held on public property require a Special Event Permit. 

The Special Events Funding Application (SEFA)

To create 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.


For questions regarding film permits, events on Parcel 5, Brown Square Park, or Dr. MLK Jr. Park, contact Joe Alessi

For questions regarding all athletic events, parades, and neighborhood festivals NOT at Parcel 5 or Dr. MLK Jr. Park, contact Carly Gillett

All other questions, contact Kara Osipovitch