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 much more.

Special Events Permit Application

The City is no longer accepting applications for 2023. Please plan for 2024.

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

Type Fee Deadline to Apply Event Type Description
Festival $200 4 months prior to event A festival includes one or more of the following: (1) Entertainment or games; (2) Vendors selling food products or wares; (3) Alcohol (4) Ticket or entrance fee.
Moving Athletic (races, walks, bicycling event, etc)   $100 4 months prior to event The City of Rochester only permits 3 pre-approved routes for new events. Walks or races with less than 1,000 participants must take place in parks or trails. Walks or races with more than 1,000 people may utilize a downtown route that is determined by the City. 
Parade/Motorcade $100 4 months prior to event A public procession or march on the street. The City has predetermined parade routes.
Block Party (not permitted on Memorial Day Weekend,
July 4th Weekend or Labor Day Weekend)
$40 1 month prior to event Closure of a residential street for residents who live on that block. Cannot be used for private celebrations and cannot be held on arterial streets or streets in a business district/Downtown.
Film Shoots $70 4 months prior to event Professional filming within the City of Rochester.
Other      $70      4 months prior to event  If the event does not fit under one of the categories above, it may be classified as “other.” Staff will make the determination. Examples include: Openings, Dedications, Rallies, Demonstrations.

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 events on Parcel 5 or MLK Park, contact Joe Alessi

For questions regarding all athletic events, parades, and neighborhood festivals, contact Carly Gillett

All other questions, contact Kara Osipovitch