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More Events

Staging an Event on City Property

Patrick Gilman
Special Services Manager

828 NE Eighth Ave.
Ocala, Florida, 34470
Phone 352.368.5524
Fax 352.368.5514

So you want to hold a special event on city property? We can help you through this process. We have provided much of the basic information that you will need to get started, but we are available to discuss your event particulars to ensure that all of your needs are met and that your event goes off without a hitch!

The first thing you need to determine is whether your activity truly requires an event permit. Below is a checklist that can help you make that determination. If you answer yes to any of these, then you most likely need an event permit… If you are still unsure after reviewing the list, give us a call or email us and we’ll help you decide.

 Do you expect to have 100 or more people?    

Do you intend to amplify sound?    

Do you require city staff to help facilitate your event? (i.e. stages, bleachers, road closures, etc.)

If your event involves fewer than 100 people and is not facilitated by city staff , you may just need a park permit or a pavilion permit.

Do you have a particular date and location in mind? If so, the next thing you want to do is look at the event calendar and make sure the venue you want is available on the date you prefer. Go to the Community Event Calendar to make this determination. Please keep in mind that we have events in multiple stages of the approval process; therefore, the fact that the desired date appears to be free at the venue you prefer should not be construed as a guarantee that your event will be approved for that venue.

The city makes a thorough evaluation of event requests to ensure the best allocation of event resources and highest and best use of each space. IMPORTANT: Please be aware that the city typically reserves larger venues for events with a larger attendance projection and/or regional draw. Therefore, any acceptance of an event registration for a minor event in a large capacity venue is subject to withdrawal at the city's discretion up to 120 days in advance of the event. These types of things rarely happen, but when they do, the city will work diligently to help the event coordinator relocate the event to a different city location or date.

Take a minute to read the Special Event Permit Application Quick Guide . This guide will give you a good overview of the timeframes under which you’ll need to move through the event process.

Now that you have a good idea of the process timelines and you have ascertained that the venue is available on the date you prefer, the next step in your event permit process is to submit an Event Summary Registration Form. This form along with an advance deposit of $50 is needed to reserve the site for your event up to one year in advance. We cannot reserve a city public venue for your event unless we have received this form and the advanced deposit.

No later than 120 days before your event, you should submit the Special Event Permit Application. Provide as much information as you have available at this time. Updates to the application may be provided later as your event planning evolves, but we need a good general idea of what your event will entail from an infrastructure and support services standpoint so that we can get started helping you work through the details. Do not submit permit fees along with your application. These will be billed to you with your conditional permit at a later date.

There are two stages to your permit. The conditional permit and the final permit. The conditional permit is just what is sounds like. It is a permit that we issue that lists the items that are still pending before a final permit can be issued; lists the services the city expects to provide based on your application and your communications with staff; and lists the fees that you must pay before a final permit can be issued.

You’ll want to keep in mind that most events require the provision of insurance; payment of permit fees and support services fees; satisfaction of state food vendor requirements; and/or local and state alcohol permit requirements. These are explained below.

Insurance. Most events on city property require insurance that the event coordinator must provide. Please refer to the Insurance Certificate of Liability for more information on insurance requirements.

Permit Fees. All events have permit fees and those fees vary depending on the size of the event and other related activities such as road closures. Please refer to the Permit Fees for a breakdown of permit fees. Please note that permit fees are never waived.

Support Services Fees. If you are requesting, or we are requiring the provision of city support services to support your event, than there will be fees associated with the event. We will do everything we can to help you understand those fees and what you can do to minimize those fees as we move through the permit process. Please refer to the Support Services Fees for a breakdown of support services fees.

Food Vendor Requirements. If your event includes food vendors, they must comply with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation temporary food service event licensing and requirements. Please refer to the Food Vendor Requirements for more information on these state requirements.

Events with Alcohol. If you are planning to allow the consumption of alcohol at your event, you will be required to have City Council pass a resolution to authorize the consumption of alcohol at the event. The Recreation and Parks Department will prepare the resolution and submit it to Council on your behalf. If you are planning to sell alcohol at your event (or if you are selling tickets to your event and will give alcohol away for free at that ticketed event) you will be required to obtain a local alcohol beverage location permit for a special event and a state issued 1-2-3 Day Permit. Based on the information you provide to us in your application, you will need to coordinate the licensing requirements for sale of alcohol with the City Growth Management Department. They can provide you with direction on obtaining the necessary licenses for sale of alcohol at an event. Please call them directly at 352.629.8404.


The city provides a sponsorship program which may help offset some of the support services fees related to your event. Please refer to the  Community Sponsorship Program for details on the community sponsorship program including eligibility criteria, forms, etc.