Experienced with organizing about 350 special events throughout Chicago, The Mayor's Office of Special Events has created its Special Events Resource Guide and Special Events Permit Package, which includes practical ideas that other towns and cities may wish to incorporate. Some highlights:
- No fee may be charged for admission (set a donation amount).
- Food vendors must be licensed and possess certification.
- Liquor vendors must be licensed (beer and wine only).
- Merchandise vendors must be licensed.
- Chicago Transit Authority must be notified.
3. Street Closures
- Public safety.
- Proximity of another event in the area at the same time.
- Previous issuance of a permit for another event at the same location map.
4. Tents and Canopies
5. Public Safety
6. Fire Safety ChecklistFestival and outdoor event organizers are required to meet code requirements, including:
- Tents shall be made of fire retardant material (certification required).
- Fire extinguishers are required in every booth.
- Temporary seating rows shall seat 5 to 14 people (maximum).
- Temporary seating aisles shall be a minimum of 36 inches.
- Flammable liquids shall not be stored in any tent, canopy or booth.
- Rubbish shall not be allowed to accumulate.
- Electrical cords should be taped down and multiple outlets are recommended.
- Fire lanes for emergency vehicles are recommended (10 foot fire lane).
- Basic C.P.R. and first aid courses are recommended for staff members.
7. Using/Displaying AnimalsIf animals are involved in the event, the name of a local veterinarian who will be present at the event must be submitted with the event application. This person will be responsible to provide for any sick or injured animals. In addition, the Commission on Animal Care and Control may inspect animals prior to their use in activities.
8. City Services RequestsPublic or private contractors must be hired for a range of services, including posting no parking signs, providing barricades, towing, refuse drums, recycling drums, liners, sweeping, refuse collection, electrical services and/or sound equipment. In Chicago, the Department of Streets and Sanitation is available to provide such services on an hourly fee scheduled based on expertise.
In addition, a recycling program is required as part of the special event permit package.
9. Food Handling at Temporary Food Service EventsVendors must attend a class by the Department of Health before submitting any applications. In addition, vendors must obtain a Summer Festival Sanitation Training and Certification (offered by the Illinois Restaurant Association). And the health officer, who determines whether a vendor will receive a permit for operation, may suspend any permit at any time.
The City of Chicago outlines detailed rules for food, containers, labels, food protection, personnel personal hygiene, food equipment, waste, booth construction and toxic material. The City of Chicago also requires vendors to attend a mandatory sanitation seminar.
Special event liquor license(s) must be received 20 days prior to the event.
10. Lightpole BannersOrganizers must complete a banner permit application, including a copy of the proposed banner graphics, the date of the event and any other significant aspects of a request. The department of streets and sanitation manages these types of requests.
Special thanks to the Mayor's Office of Special Events in Chicago for extending permission to highlight its Resource Guide and Permit Application requirements.