Event planning work involves dealing with many different suppliers to make one successful event. That’s one of the reasons why we often refer to an event or meeting planner as wearing many hats. It’s probably another good reason why an event planning checklist is one of the top searches on this site.
Those in the event planning business know all too well that special event planning involves a lot of details and time. But where do you go to access this information? And exactly how much time should you budget to obtain the necessary permits? Well here are a few helpful tips if you are planning an event that requires a permit.
Who to Turn to When Your Special Event Planning Requires a Permit
Generally speaking a special event permit is required for an activity occurring in a public area which does not comply with normal and usual traffic regulations or controls. Most permits are issued by municipal governments. Some, liquor licenses for example, are handled at the state (or provincial) level.
If ever there was a need for a Destination Management Company (“DMC”), working with permits would be it. I always recommend working with the DMC as they are considered the local experts. A good DMC will know the ins and outs of permit requirements for their location. They can take a huge workload away from your event planning work, leaving you to focus on other aspects of the event (marketing etc.). ADME (the Association for destination management executives) is a great resource to help you find and secure a DMC that is right for you.
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Types of Special Events That Require Permits
Say you have 100 guests that you’re simply moving from a hotel, down the street, to a venue. For this you would not require a permit. Paid off duty police officers might be a recommendation to help move the crowd, but you are generally not disturbing the usual traffic movement here.
Examples of events that would require a permit would be; a motorcade shuffling VIP, a parade, an event that would require a street closure, a fun run/event moving throughout a particular area.
Event Planning Work-What You Need to Do before Applying for a Permit
With special event planning, time is of the essence. As you will be likely dealing with municipal governments, you need to make sure that your event planning checklist allows for enough time so that you can submit the necessary paperwork and then receive approval. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you file a permit request at least three months prior to your event. Also, most municipalities prefer that you do not file for permits for an event that is over a year away.
Information that you will need to submit, based on the type of permit:
For a motorcade or parade: you would need to provide detailed information showing the number of cars, the order, the routes proposed and the timing. It is quite common for proposed routes to be changed by the local authorities based on the conditions of the day. Note that for a motorcade involving a high level government official, that motorcade planning would most often be handled by the official’s office. Double check if you are booking a prominent figure.
Street closure: a plan showing which streets you are planning to close. Also what you intend to be doing in the area designated. If you plan on having multiple vendors you will also need to provide information about them.
Fun run: a map of the race route and times that you would need the closure. You will also need to have an idea of how many people you would be expecting.
Of course with all special event permits there will be requirements of you. For example the municipality will want to ensure that you have enough staff available for security issues, dealing with the general public etc. Insurance is also a requirement of yours. Before you receive approval for your special event, the municipality will want to ensure that you are carrying the right type of insurance with enough liability coverage.