City of Winter Haven Special Events helps build a sense of belonging and community pride. As part of the Parks, Recreation & Culture Division, the Office of Special Events exists to serve the community and guide event planners through the special event permitting process.
Learn more about our Special Event policies and what parks qualify for a Special Event by reviewing our Special Event Guide.
Type of Application needed:
A parade permit is needed if your event involves a procession, run, walk, bike ride, or similar type of event. In addition, if your event includes a post-run/race/ride celebration on City property, you will also need to complete a special event permit application.
Special Event Application
A special event permit is needed if your event is a festival, tournament, dance, concert, block party, or similar type of event that involves any of the following: closing a street, the use of any City park, sale of merchandise, food or beverage, erection of a tent larger than 10 x 10, the use of inflatables, amplified music, installation of a stage, bandshell, grandstand, bleacher, trailer, van or portable toilets for public use.
COVID-19 Update: To promote safety and limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we have put safety guidelines in place for all special events. These protocols include mandatory physical distancing of vendors, sanitation stations, maximum park capacity, etc. These requirements fall in line with the CDC’s best practices for events and gatherings. Please be sure to read the COVID-19 Reopening Plan below before completing the special event application.
Event permit requirements
- Event permits will only be considered 12 months before their date. All event rentals are on a first-come, first-served basis, and reservations can be made 12 months in advance.
- Teen Dances have additional terms & conditions waiver to sign and requires the hiring of Winter Haven Police Officers at organizers’ expense.
- Events involving alcohol of any kind require the hiring of Winter Haven Police Officers at organizers’ expense. As well as require written approval from the City of Winter Haven.
- Permit requests for consecutive or individual multiple dates will be subject to date or location changes at the City of Winter Haven’s discretion.
- Events involving inflatables require the City of Winter Haven to be listed as a certificate holder and a copy of insurance provided to the Special Events Coordinator before the event. Inflatables with water features are not permitted on the City of Winter Haven property.
- Placement of signage promoting your event is not permitted within any public right-of-way. Please see our Street Pole Banner page for more information about permitted promotions.
The following event checklist items will be due two weeks before the date of your APPROVED event.
- The event footprint site plan. Site plans must be legible and provide sufficient detail for any elements impacting the event footprint.
- The parade route map.
- The parade route turn by turn narrative.
- Payment of your special event fees.
Permit Application Process
- Complete and submit the event permit application below. NOTE – Completing the application does not guarantee your event will be approved. All events are required to obtain a Special Events application and comply with all the application requirements. Depending on your event, you may need to obtain additional permits or meet additional requirements.
- An application fee of $35.00 will be required for a Special Event application once you have been approved. We do not waive the $35 application fee.
- Applications can be submitted no more than one year before the event and 30 days before the event date. Applications submitted less than 30 days before the event date are subject to be denied.
- The Special Events Review Committee reviews applications on the Tuesday following the date we received the application.
- If you did not receive an email immediately following your submission, we did not receive your application, and you should resend it.
- If your event requires a parade application, the Special Events Review Committee representatives will approve the route or make adjustments and determine where barricades and/or cones will need to be used. Please note some parade applications will require a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) permit. If this is the case, the application must be submitted at least 90 days in advance.
- City of Winter Haven Police Department representatives will determine the number of required police officers/security officers the event organizer will be responsible for hiring.
- All additional permits and requirements must be submitted to the Special Events office no later than two weeks before the event. Failure to submit all additional permits and requirements two weeks before the event will deny event approval.