OCA  City of San Jose, Office of Cultural Affairs

Event Process

Fast Fact:
Over 2,000,000 people attended 324 events in Fiscal Year 2011-2012.

Step 1. The Event
Your first step in planning an event is deciding what kind of event it should be! By the time you are ready to apply for the permit, you should be able to explain: what the event is (e.g. parade, outdoor concert), who is expected to participate (e.g. families with young kids), number of attendees, when you would like to hold the event (e.g. August 19th), and who is the key contact for the event (e.g. yourself)!

Step 2. Site Selection
This link will take you to a list of public spaces frequently used for events. Capacity and relevant site specifications are also included. Once you have identified your preferred site, please remember that your use of the site is only confirmed once the permit is issued. If you are interested in using parks, you should contact the Special Parks Unit (SPU) office to ensure the park is available.

Step 3. Permit Application
Visit the new One-Start Online Application. We have developed a One-Start Outdoor Special Event Permit Application for all Special Events/Festivals. Please fill out the application in its entirety and submit any applicable fees with your application. You may submit the application online only. If you have any questions about the application process, contact the OCA at (408) 793.4344. A Special Events Application must be received a minimum of 45 days prior to event.

Step 4. Permit Review
OCA staff will coordinate your application through the various departments that need to review it before the permit may be issued. Typically, four to five different City departments need to see the application, such as Fire, Police, Department of Transportation, Office of Cultural Affairs, Parks, etc. It is our job to coordinate this effort on your behalf. We may need to call you from time to time to ask questions, and we may ask you to come in for a pre-event meeting. This process typically takes 45 days, but we ask that you submit your application 90 days (or up to a year) in advance.

Step 5. Permit Approval and Your Event
If your permit is approved, you will receive an Authorization Letter from OCA indicating that your permit has been approved. Any conditions for conducting the event or further instructions will be listed in the Authorization Letter. Have a great event!

Step 6. Post-Event Review
OCA will review feedback from a variety of sources (e.g. Police, nearby businesses, etc.), as well as the management of the event site. You will be responsible for any damage or clean-up. If the City needs to do additional work because of your event, you will be charged and it may affect future permits. We may have suggestions for ways to improve the event in the future. A file on your event will be kept for two years. Should you wish to secure another permit for the same event within the next two years, an expedited process may be made available to you, based on the prior success of your event under the initial permit.

Last Modified: 08.20.13