“Special Event” means a temporary event or gathering, using either private or public property, in which the estimated number of participants and spectators exceeds 75 during any day of the event and that involves one or more of the following activities: closing a public street; blocking or restriction of public property; sale of merchandise, food or beverages on public property or on private property where otherwise prohibited by ordinance; erection of a tent; installation of a stage, band shell, trailer, van portable building, grandstand, or bleachers; placement of portable toilets (unless designated for construction purposes); or placement of temporary no-parking, directional, over-size, or identification signs or banners in or over a public right-of-way, or on private property where otherwise prohibited by ordinance.
1. For which activities are special events permits needed?
Parades, runs, walks, carnivals, festivals or any events that include the criteria listed above will require a special event permit.
2. Are there circumstances under which I should get a permit even though my group has fewer than 75 people?
Yes. Events erecting tents larger than 399 square feet, erecting a stage, or utilizing portable toilets (unless being used for construction purposes) or any of the items listed above will require a special event permit even if the attendance is below 75 people.
3. Can I get my application fee back if I don’t get what I requested, if it rains, if I decide not to hold my event, etc.?
The application fee is not refundable. Nevertheless, in case of inclement weather, you may be able to reschedule your event within 30 days subject to approval by the Office of Special Events.
4. Will I get everything I ask for in my application?
While we do try to accommodate our clients’ requests as much as possible, it is sometimes necessary to offer the applicant different times, locations, or dates for events, due to the volume of requests, conflicting events, or other unforeseen circumstances.
5. May I hold my event on a major holiday weekend (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day)?
You may be able to hold your event on a major holiday depending on the availability of police presence, event location, and conflicts with other events. The Office of Special Events and the Dallas Police Department will make a determination if there are not enough resources to ensure public safety during any holiday period.
6. May we erect a tent and/or hang signs or banners at our event?
You must inform the Office of Special Events on your application if you plan to hang signs or banners at your event. This information must be included in the final permit. No signs or banners can be affixed to trees or fences. To hang street pole banners, a permit must be obtained from the Banner Permit Coordinator at the Office of Special Events. Other banners must be coordinated through the Building Inspections Department. Contact information for permitting departments can be obtained
7. Will I need any other permits to hold an event?
Yes. Depending on the type of event, other permits may be needed. When an application, has been filed with the Office of Special Events, contact information will be provided to clients for any departments they may need to reach to obtain additional permits.
8. Will I receive permission to have amplified sound at my event?
Not necessarily, there are restrictions on where, when, and how we can grant permission to apply for amplified sound. The Special Event Permit abides by the ‘noise’ guidelines set forth by Chapter 30 of the Dallas City Code.
9. Do I have to have insurance?
If your event exceeds 2500 participants/spectators, you will be required to have Commercial General Liability insurance. Liquor liability insurance is required of all events selling or serving alcohol regardless of attendance amounts. Other instances that may require insurance are animals at the event, fireworks, amusement rides, etc. The Special Event Manager may require additional insurance for a special event if such additional insurance is recommended by the city’s risk manager as being necessary for the protection of the city or the public health, safety, and welfare.
10. How do I get a permit to sell something at my event?
You must apply for a temporary vendors permit from the Environmental and Health Department by calling (214) 670-8083.
11. We are a non-profit organization. Can the event permit fee be waived?
The permit fee is an application-processing fee, and therefore, everyone is required to pay. All processing fees are non-refundable.
12. How do I apply for a permit to close a street?
Contact the Office of Special Events at (214) 939-2701. Street closures for residential block parties are permitted through the Public Works and Transportation Department (214) 670-5896. Block Parties over 200 participants are considered Special Events and must move out of the residential area and to commerical property or a park. For more information on residential block parties, visit the Other Resources tab from the home page.
13. Do I need a Special Event Permit to stage a protest or demonstration?
Protests, demonstrations, and rallies are considered a First Amendment right; therefore, a Special Event Permit may not be issued for these types of events. Organizers are asked to contact the Office of Special Events to verify that no events are scheduled in the areas where protests are being planned and to ensure public safety precautions are in place.
CES-FRM-304 Rev.1, Eff. 06/03/13