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Planning an Event

Special events are a great way to highlight your organization and the community to both visitors and residents of Sanford.  It is the City of Sanford’s objective to help make sure that the event is safe, successful and planned effectively.

For questions about holding a special event, please call the Recreation Department at 407.688.5120.

Typically, a Special Event Permit is required if you are:

  • Inviting the public-at-large to attend (by distributing posters, advertising on social media, etc.).
  • Are using a space for something other than which it is typically used (like a street or parking lot).
  • If you need exclusive use of a space for an organized activity (like Ft Mellon’s green space without a Frisbee game occurring in the space simultaneously).
  • All Special Event Applications must be received no less than sixty (60) days, and no more than 365 days, prior to your event date along with a non-refundable $50 processing fee, site map and event timeline. If all are not received, the application is considered incomplete and will not be accepted or processed.
  • All applicants must have an address within the city limits of the City of Sanford limits.
  • You may not advertise, or promote your event, until it is approved by the City Commission. The submission of your application does not guarantee your event’s approval.  Advertising or promoting your event prior to City Commission approval may result in your event’s denial. 
  • The applicant shall provide the City of Sanford with an appropriate Certificate of Insurance, as determined by the City’s Risk Management Department. The City reserves the right to change these limits of insurance, but, at a minimum, the City requires $1 million in General Liability Insurance with the City of Sanford named as ‘additionally insured’.
  • Special events shall not discriminate against participants or observers as to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status or veteran status.
  • An Individual event, or a combination of overlapping events, requesting simultaneous closure of more than one arterial road downtown, will receive additional staff scrutiny due to the requested event space negatively affecting thoroughfares and accessibility to parking.
  • If the applicant makes a material misrepresentation on the application, the applicant risks immediate cancelation and may not be approved for future events.

The Chief of Police or the Fire Chief may terminate an event if it threatens the peace and dignity of the community, or creates unmanageable problems for public safety.

Process – One Stop Shopping:

  1. Complete the application and submit a $100 processing fee with a minimum of sixty (60) days prior to the event date. The office of the Special Event Supervisor may reject an application for various reasons including, but not limited to
    • failure to submit an application within sixty (60) days of the event;
    • the application is not completed correctly,
    • the applicant owes outstanding balances with the City of Sanford or money from another event, services provided or damages City property,
    • if the event will conflict with a previously scheduled planned program or event for the same time and place, or
    • the applicant does not abide all city ordinances, traffic laws, park and regulation rules, Florida state health laws, fire codes and liquor licensing regulations.
  2. Following the receipt of a special event application, the Special Event Supervisor will contact the applicant to set up a meeting with the Special Event Review Committee (SERC) meeting. SERC members are appointed by their respective City department directors to provide their professional recommendations and decisions to support your special event. SERC meetings are typically held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, from 9-11 AM.
  3. The Special Events Review Committee (SERC) reviews the application, and interviews the applicant. They will provide requirements and suggestions to the applicant. Each member may consider staffing, equipment, or other assets needed to successfully host the event and the applicant shall be responsible for paying the City of Sanford’s expenses or to contract services. The Special Event Supervisor submits an invoice to the applicant outlining city services, their costs and all other requirements that the applicant must meet to ensure a successful and safe event.
  4. The event request will be forward to the City Commission for approval. The City Commissioners approve or deny all Special Event Permit request with consideration of:
    • SERC staff recommendations,
    • Event Notification responses from the public,
    • the number of other events already approved during the requested event month, as well as
    • the applicant’s prior event experience and performance.
  5. Payment shall be made in full with all final required paperwork to the Office of the Special Event Supervisor at least 10 days prior to the event date.  The event is at risk of automatic cancellation if this requirement is not met.  An additional approval fee of $100.00 will be applied for expedited service if Staff proceeds with processing the Special Event Permit for the benefit of the applicant.
  6. After the event, the applicant shall be billed for any additional expenses that may have accrued. The applicant shall be responsible to promptly pay all additional charges.
  7. Cancellation/ Termination of Event
    1. The applicant may cancel their event by notifying the City and the City shall cancel as many scheduled services as possible. Some charges may still apply including services scheduled and delivered such as solid waste containers, as well as the loss of rental revenue from the applicants reserved site.
    2. The City of Sanford shall reserve the right to cancel or relocate an event due to conditions including to, but not limited to affecting the public health, safety of the City, misuse or abuse of facilities, non-compliance with the City of Sanford event policies and un-permitted or prohibited events.

Things to think about:

  • Apply Early & Be Flexible! We have a lot of events!  The capacity of events throughout the City of Sanford is limited. Therefore, applicants may be asked to consider alternative locations, dates and or hours to avoid conflict with another event, render relief to a particular area or due to the unavailability of city resources. 
  • Be Considerate! We appreciate considerate applicants! Please consider those who will be affected by your event and try to minimize any negative effects that the event may have on affected businesses and residences in the impacted areas of 2-3 blocks in each direction of your event footprint including parking availability, noise, trash, etc.

Applicant shall obtain all appropriate licensing and inspections for distributing or cooking food including the City of Sanford, the Seminole County Health Department and the State of Florida.

    • For-Profit applicants must notify Florida’s DBPR no less than three business days prior to the scheduled event of the time and location of the event; a complete list of food service vendor owners and operators participating; current license number of each public food service by emailing Inspectors from the State of Florida may be in attendance at any event and vendors shall be prepared to purchase a temporary food service license from the inspector. For more information, please visit .
      • All events shall take proper preventative measures to prevent grease from dropping onto the ground, streets, sidewalks, landscaping, paving, etc. Proper arrangements, approved by the City, shall be made for the disposal of grease. Improper grease disposal, by applicant or their vendors, will result in additional cleanup costs assessed to the Special Event Applicant.
      • All food vendors are subject to S.O.P. 1212 “Mobile or Temporary Cooking Fire Safety Requirements” which allows for fire safety inspections before or during an event. For fire safety, all hydrants must maintain a 5-foot clear radius.  All food vendors must have a fire extinguisher.

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)


Full Guide

During a Permitted Special Event, Mobile Food Vending is authorized even in generally unapproved areas and without the vendor having a Vending Permit issued by the City of Sanford if they have a license issued from the State of Florida.

Mobile Food Vending is governed by the City of Sanford under Chapter 22 Businesses, Article V Mobile Food Vendors.  This Code describes where Mobile Food Vending is prohibited on public rights-of-way and in certain areas of downtown as described in Section 22-167, POINT “n” and shown on this helpful map.     

 It is prohibited and unlawful for a mobile food vendor to set up its sales area at any of the following locations:

  1.  On or within 250 feet of First Street and Second Street between French Avenue and Sanford Avenue.
  2. On or within 250 feet of Sanford Avenue between Commercial Street and Thirteenth Street.
  3. Within 250 feet from of any other mobile food vendor unless specifically permitted to do so by the city. The distance of the separation requirement shall be measured from the closest point of one mobile food truck to the closest point of the other mobile food truck.
  4. Within 500 feet of any licensed restaurant located in a permanent structure during the hours said restaurant is open for business. The distance of the separation requirement shall be measured from the closest point of the mobile food truck to the closest building corner of the restaurant.

Production Companies will enjoy working with the permitting office at the Metro Orlando Film and Entertainment Commission to process a Motion Photography Production Permit in Sanford.  The City of Sanford requires the completed permit application at least five days in advance and does not charge a permitting fee.  The Film Commission will arrange for all support services needed including police, fire, barricades, parking, etc., and provide you with the costs to reimburse the City for their actual costs.  The Film Commission’s telephone number is 407.446.0201. Sanford’s Economic Development Department can provide further assistance at 407.688.5015.


Special events with noise shall only be approved with event times between 7 am and 10 pm and shall not exceed 95dBA or 100 dBC at the event, although lower levels may be required. (See Ordinance No. 2021-4582.) Amplified sounds in Fort Mellon Park shall face Lake Monroe.



Florida law requires alcohol to be contained within licensed premises and the applicant must prevent alcohol from being removed from the licensed premises.

    • Nonprofit applicants may obtain a license to sell alcohol at their event from Florida’s Department of Professional Regulation (DBPR) by using Form DBPR ABT-6003 for a period not to exceed 3 days for a single event and limited to 12 permits per calendar year.

      See DBPR’s Licensing Portal for a temporary license for a bona-fide non-profit civic organization to sell alcoholic beverages.  You may print the application or apply on line.

    • For-Profit applicants, who already have an alcohol license, may apply for a Temporary Extension of Premises using Form DBPR ABT-6029 to conduct alcohol beverage sales beyond their licensed space. Following City Commission approval of the event, the applicant may obtain required signature from the City’s Zoning Department and turn it into DBPR. The special event applicant shall provide the city with a list of permitted alcohol sellers with their licenses and their insurance certificates to the City at least ten (10) days before the event date.

The City Commission and Police Department will require the presence of security, such as an off-duty Police Officer, as a condition of approval at any Special Event or City Facility where alcohol is consumed and/or sold. 

The Parks and Recreation Department offers several rental facilities for special events including the Sanford Civic Center, the Bettye D. Smith Cultural Arts Center and the Dr. Velma H. Williams Westside Community Center.   Please call 407.688.5129 for availability and more information.

You need to obtain a Special Event Permit if...

Explore Rental Opportunities

The Parks and Recreation Department offers several rental facilities for special events including the Sanford Civic Center, the Bettye D. Smith Cultural Arts Center and the Dr. Velma H. Williams Westside Community Center.   Please call 407.688.5129 for availability and more information.

To create your account: Follow the link and click on Log in/Create Account, click Create your PARKS AND RECREATION account.


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