Special Events Policies & Procedures

General Policy Statement

The City of Canandaigua ("City") establishes a policy for a uniform method of processing applications and regulations of Special Events held within the City. This policy shall apply to all special events that take place on property owned or controlled by the City. Any person or organization wishing to sponsor or hold a Special Event in the City will be required to complete a Special Event Application and obtain proper Permits.


  • Block Parties: A block party is defined as an event, which is organized and held by residents of a street as a social event. No attendance or participation fees are charged. However, food, goods and services are often donated to support the event. If Block Party attracts people beyond the street, the event is not considered to be a block party.
  • Impromptu Special Events: Opportunities for positive public use of City resources with little or no advance notice, for example a school field trip to the Public Safety Department, a Boy Scout civil service program or traffic control for a political motorcade.
  • Permit: Written consent issued by the City Manager indicating permission to hold the event pursuant to this policy.
  • Public Property: City owned property, including but not limited to buildings, parks, rights-of-way and parking lots and City services, including but not limited to Public Works, Public Safety and Administration.
  • Public Special Event: An event open to the general public for the benefit of public or not-for-profit entities or purposes.
  • Private Special Event: An event not open to the general public or an event held to generate revenue for private entities or purposes.
  • Recurring Special Event: A public or private special event held in consecutive years following initial City Council action approving said event.


  1. All special event requests, other than Impromptu Special Events, shall be submitted to the City Manager's Office on the City's Application for Special Events and include any information requested on the application along with a check in the amount of fifty ($50) dollars for processing the application. This application fee is non-refundable.
  2. In order for the application to be processed, said application with the processing fee must be submitted 45 days prior to the scheduled event. Incomplete applications or applications submitted less than 45 days prior to the event will not be processed.
  3. Upon submittal of the application the City Manager will forward the application to the various Department Heads for their review and comments related to whether:
    1. The proposed location is adequate for the size and nature of the event.
    2. The event does not unreasonably interfere with the activities of people living or working in the area.
    3. The event is not likely to cause injury to persons or property.
    4. The event does not create a disturbance, cause disorderly conduct, or encourage or result in violation of the law.
    5. The availability of city personnel and equipment.
    6. Any other concerns related to the general health and safety of the public.
    7. Any conditions, including alternate routes or sites to ensure the health and safety of the citizens may be set by the City Council, City Manager or Department Head, and shall be incorporated into the granting of any permit.
  4. The application will be also be forwarded to the Office of the Clerk/Treasurer for review and determination of insurance coverage requirements. The City shall require that all sponsors of special events, excluding Block Parties, provide general liability insurance coverage in the minimum amount of one million dollars. Festivals and Races shall provide a minimum of two million dollars general liability insurance. The City may require the sponsor and/or vendor to provide higher levels or insurance, coverages, and policies as deemed necessary based on specific event risk factors and review by the City's insurer. After reviewing the description of the event and potential risk factors, the City will notify the sponsor of what insurance specific coverage is needed. At least 20 days prior to the event an event sponsor shall be required to provide a valid Certificate of Insurance naming the City of Canandaigua as an additional insured.
  5. The City may place additional requirements on any event. These requirements may include specific staffing levels for Police, Fire, Paramedic, Public Works or other personnel. Expenses for these requirements will be billed to the sponsoring organization under the terms of this policy and the fee schedule. Where possible during the review process Department Heads will provide estimates of anticipated work performed by City Personnel and related costs.
  6. After review of the application from the various departments, the City Manager is hereby authorized to permit certain events on City property or the use of Public Property provided such use is for the benefit of the public and, in the judgment of the Manager; such use is consistent with the goals and directives of the City Council. Such administrative approval is limited to Impromptu and Recurring Special Events. Prior to approval the City Manager shall forward copies of requests for these Special Events to the next scheduled Committee for discussion and direction. All other Special Events shall be presented to the City Council for review and approval or denial. Special Events that are approved by Resolution of City Council and are conducted in accordance with the terms of the granted Permit shall be considered a recurring event in future periods. Such events may be administratively approved provided individual Council members do not request repeated Council review. All permits will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  7. If an application is denied, the applicant may appeal the decision through an Article 78 proceeding.
  8. If the permit is approved, on the day of the event the Police Department and Public Works Department will provide personnel and equipment in accordance with the terms of the permit to provide adequate traffic control and assistance to ensure that the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City are protected.
  9. The applicant will be required to execute an Indemnity Agreement holding the City harmless for any and all accidents, claims, etc., which may occur as a result of such an approved event.
  10. Permit holders are on notice that if situations develop that effect the health, safety and welfare of residents, the Police Department, Fire Department, Code Enforcement Office, or the Public Works Department are authorized to cancel the event at any time.
  11. On the day of the event, the permit must be available and ready for display upon the request of the Police, Fire Department, Code Enforcement and/or Public Works Department. In the event that the applicant has not paid the appropriate fees and picked up the permit, or if the permit is not at the scene of the event, or a permit was not applied for, the event will not be allowed to occur.

General Information

Vendor License Requirements

All food/beverage vendors must have valid New York State Health Department licenses. Additionally the Fire Department must inspect all food vendors' cooking devices. This inspection requires an Operating Permit. A vendor acting through a Special Event Permit shall not be required to obtain a Vendor License under Chapter 538 of the Municipal Code. The inspection for such permit is $60 per inspector per hour. Food/Beverage Vendors are responsible for any and all fees related to obtaining a food license.

Food/Beverage Vendors are required to comply with all Ontario County Health Department or all New York State Health Department rules and regulations for Temporary Food License Facilities.

Food/beverage vendors should contact the Health Department well in advance of the event date.

Two or More Applications for the Same Event Date

In the event that two or more Special Event Applications are received for the same date and time prior to the approval of either event, the date and time that each application was received by the City shall determine the order of preference. Once a Special Event approval has been granted, it shall be the policy of the City to not award further permits for the same date, time, and general location. In the event that two or more Special Event Applications are received at the same time for the same date and time, the City Manager has authority to resolve date and time conflicts with the sponsors filing each application.

Reservation of Annual Event Dates

If an event is intended to be an annual event at regularly scheduled dates, the current year's application may include the following year's requested dates. Approval of the current year's application may include a reservation of the next year's proposed dates. However, the reservation will not constitute approval of the next year's event, which must have its own timely application submitted for City approval. In general, the City will not approve Special Event Applications for more than one year in advance.


If signs and banners are going to be displayed throughout the City, the sponsor must provide detail of the signs in the application with respect to sizes, numbers, and locations where signs will be displayed. The permit holder is not authorized to place signs in City right-of-way or in the Main Street median, unless the Permit provides otherwise. Should this occur, the Code Enforcement Department is authorized to remove such signs. Continued placement could lead to revocation and cancellation of the Special Events Permit. Signage can be placed on private property with the consent of the owner and in accordance with the City's sign ordinance. All signs must be removed the day after the Special Event. If the City removes the signs after that period the event sponsor will be responsible for a fee of $50 per sign removed.


Tents that are larger than 400 square feet (20 feet by 20 feet), whether on public or private property, require an inspection by the Fire Department and a Tent Permit. The inspection for such permit is $60 per inspector per hour. For information regarding the installation of tents the applicant must contact the Fire Rescue Department at 585-396-5050.

Block Parties

As a condition of Permit Approval, for first-time events at least 60% or the residents must agree to have the street closed and 100% of the residents on streets to be closed must be notified in writing at least 3 weeks prior to the event. A signed petition and Street Closing Permit must be attached to the application. Permittees must ensure that attendees comply with the City's Noise Ordinance and Alcohol Policy. Street Closures shall be limited to one block and street barricades must be placed only at street intersections. Insurance is not required for a Block Party.


At the conclusion of the Special Event all refuse must be disposed of properly and the site returned to its condition prior to the Special Event

Prohibited Activities

No games of chance, amusement rides, or bounce houses are permitted on public property.

Fees for Special Events

Excepting the Downtown Business Improvement District, fees shall be charged for City services provided to Special Events as follows:

Application Fee

At the time of the submission of an application for a special event, the applicant shall pay a non-refundable processing fee of fifty ($50) dollars.

Hourly Rate

Hourly Rate shall be the hourly rate, as established by the City Administration, for any employee working on a special event. Hourly Rate shall include expenses related to the employee including fringe benefits, or as established by the City. Current rates are as follows and shall be for a minimum of one hour:

  • Police Officer ($60 per hour)
  • Fireperson ($60 per hour)
  • DPW Worker ($50 per hour)

Equipment Rental

City equipment required for an event shall be charged to the event as follows for delivery and pick-up during regular business hours:

  • Traffic Cones ($1 each)
  • Plastic Litter Barrels ($5 each)
  • 8 feet Barricades ($5 each)
  • Snow Fencing ($3 per roll) plus installation costs

The rate for additional equipment shall be a reasonable rate as determined by the Director of the Public Works Department. There is a replacement fee for any equipment that is not returned in the same condition in which it was delivered.

Additional Fees

Use of a tent that is larger than 400 square feet, regardless of whether on public or private property and/or the commercial outdoor cooking of food require separate inspections and permits by the City of Canandaigua Fire Department. The applicant is responsible for obtaining these permits at the current inspection rate of $60 per inspector per hour, with a minimum of 1 hour.