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City of Boulder Special Events

City of Boulder Special Events

The City of Boulder is proud to host a variety of Special Events that contribute to the social, economic and environmental health and well-being of our community.

Do I need a Special Event Permit?

A special event permit is required for all planned and promoted public activities conducted on public property that meet any of the following criteria:

  • When the expected number of participants and spectators totals 50 or more people; and/or
  • When using tents, structures and/or sound amplification; and/or
  • When providing, selling or distributing alcohol and/or food to the public; and/or
  • When using public right of ways (e.g., city streets, multi-use paths and sidewalks), and/or impacting vehicle, bike or bus traffic.

Examples: Parades, athletic events, bike and foot races, street fairs, arts shows and festivals.

Advocacy activities do not require a special event permit. Please see Appendix F of the Special Event Guide pdf for more information.

Special Event Guide

When planning a special event in Boulder, the Special Events Guide pdf is an essential tool for event organizers to navigate the permitting process. The guide clarifies planning deadlines and requirements. 

Please review the Special Events Guide pdf prior to developing a special event concept and submitting a Special Event Application.

Special Event Permit Application

After developing a special event concept, submit a Special Event Permit Application request with any requirements specified in the Special Event Guide. Submitting a Special Event Application does NOT reserve, hold or guarantee dates or venues, nor imply any approval of the proposed concept or event.

Once submitted, a city representative will respond within 10 business days and serve as your point of contact for processing the application, facilitating pending requirements and issuing the special event permit. 

Additional Permits, Requirements and Information

Additional City of Boulder permits or information may be required based on the size, scope and capacity of the special event, or if the event includes or offers any of the following items:

Frequently Asked Questions

I am planning a picnic in the park, what permit will I need?

This permit could vary. It could be a simple Drop-In User Permit up to a Large Event Permit. For further information, please refer to the Parks and Recreation Events and Rentals page.

How can I have a neighborhood block party?

The City of Boulder’s goal is to support neighborhood events and promote a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all residents. Neighborhood block parties that are one block long or less go through an expedited application process. The City of Boulder also has a block party trailer that you can reserve to support your event!

Can I have alcohol at my event?

Depending on where your event is taking place, it may require additional permitting through the city's Liquor Licensing Authority. It is prohibited by City Code to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage, open or unopened, in a city park or trail, except where allowed by a special event permit.

Will I need insurance?

Any person holding a commercial event, or having a jumping castle or other apparatus at a city park, must an insurance policy listing the City of Boulder as "additionally insured" is required 15 business days prior to the first day of the reservation.

Can I have a band at my event?

Compliance with the city's Noise Ordinance is expected for any event utilizing amplified sound.

Can we have a bonfire or fireworks at my event?

Any opening burning needs to be approved by the Boulder Fire-Rescue Department as part of the special event application process.

What are the rules for having a tent at my event?

Any tent or air supported membrane structure greater than 400 square feet requires a tent permit. Any canopy over 800 square feet also requires this permit from the Planning and Development Services Center.

How can I request police officers for my event?

In order to provide public safety, service and professionalism, the Boulder Police Department allows and gives officers and supervisors the authority to perform off-duty police work. Off-duty officers and supervisors are responsible for enforcing only municipal ordinances and state and federal statutes. They will not be responsible for enforcing rules of the establishment or other venue. Learn more about requesting officers for event staffing.