Special Event Definition
The City of Green Bay defines a Special Event as one of the following displays which interferes with the normal flow or regulation of traffic upon the streets, sidewalks, and/or rights-of-way:
- Athletic Event, Ceremony, Demonstration, Exhibition, March, Pageant, Parade, Procession, Race, or Show
Essentially, a Special Event takes place on public property including parks, streets, alleys, sidewalks, terraces, boardwalks, piers, landings, bodies of water, and the like. Special Events are open to the public. A Special Event can be as small as 200 people or as many as 50,000. Special Event Organizers may charge attendees or create an experience that is free. Events held on private property are not Special Events for the purposes of the City of Green Bay’s policies.
Read Green Bay Municipal Code Chapter 10 Article IX for detailed information about Special Events.
How to Host a Special Event
- Start by reading the Special Events Guide and consulting the Special Events Fee Chart.
- If you still have questions after reviewing those documents, you may contact the Special Events Coordinator by calling 920-448-3005.
- The next step is to fill out a Special Event Application.
Filming and Photography
If you are filming or using photography in a public space, please fill out the Special Events Application for Filming or Photography in Public Spaces.
The Special Events ordinance in Green Bay Municipal Code Chapter 10 Article IX requires that a nonrefundable application fee to cover the administrative costs of processing the permit shall be paid to the City by the applicant. Please ensure that your application is complete and your event plan well prepared since this fee is nonrefundable. Additionally, please be aware that a cancellation fee may be charged for any events cancelled within 15 days of the scheduled event date.
For those events determined to be a special hazard event as defined in the Special Events ordinance, a Special Hazard Event Fee will be charged in addition to the Special Event Application Fee as directed under the ordinance.
Note that other fees and costs may be incurred and invoiced separately by other City of Green Bay departments for additional City services deployed for your event.
Failure to pay all fees associated with your Special Event will result in the Special Events Committee being unable to review any future applications.
Welcome to Special Events with the City of Green Bay! We encourage events that support and celebrate Green Bay and our citizens through educational activities, athletics, health and wellness, music, entertainment, and the arts. The Special Events Committee is in place to ensure event organizers follow City/State ordinance and statutes, departmental policy (industry standards), and special event safety practices. The safety of your staff, volunteers, attendees as well as the citizens of Green Bay is first and foremost. Please feel free to contact us at any time in your event planning process.
It is strongly encouraged you contact our special event coordinator prior to submitting your application. For assistance an application or the special events process, call Melissa Edison at (920)-448-3006.
The Green Bay Police Department’s primary focus is safety and security of all participants at special events. We work with event planners as well as other city departments to identify potential risks at each event. Once the risks are identified and assessed, the Police Department will make recommendations to the event planners on what resource may be needed to hold that specific event and reduce any potential risks to the participants. For example, an event that wants to occupy a street for a day to have a festival may be required to use vehicle ramming barriers to mitigate the risk of a vehicle driving through the festival. If the same event was planned in a park, the risk of a vehicle ramming would be greatly reduced, and vehicle barriers may not be necessary. Other factors are also taken into consideration, such as sale of alcohol, previous history of the event and number of people anticipated to attend. We work with the event organizers on our threat and hazard identification and risk assessment to ensure the event can operate as safely as possible.
For further information on special events and the Green Bay Police Department’s assistance and pricing information, please call Lt. Tom Buchmann at (920) 448-3217.
The Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency medical services at special events. Fire trucks for fire suppression and bicycles, UTV's, and ambulances can be provided for medical responses. Special events are charged actual labor cost for staffing. Further information and estimates can be obtained by calling 920-448-3280.
The Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department has a variety of facilities to host your event. Contact this department if you would like to utilize a park, park shelter, park green space, or trail within the City of Green Bay. Click here to view locations or call (920) 448-3365.
DPW assists with Special Events in the following ways:
- We will assist with City of Green Bay Right of Way and City of Green Bay managed parking lots.
- Provide needed Traffic Control for approved road closures for events.
- Help with location points for dumpsters and Porta Poties if needed.
- Hood parking meters prior to event date.
- Assist with parking needs – ramps/surface parking.
- Organizers should review their proposed routes in collaboration with DPW and report any areas that may need attention.
- DPW will check for construction projects that could impact your event. *Please note, the City of Green Bay cannot guarantee that there will not be a construction conflict.
- If the DPW must provide city services, we will work with you prior to the event to determine cost associated with those services.
Department of Public Works (DPW) – Contact Tom.Schuurmans@greenbaywi.gov
Special events play an integral role in creating vibrant communities. Special events have a direct impact to our local economy, build a sense of community and belonging, and contribute to the identity of our city. It is important to us to do what we can to help your event be successful. The Community and Economic Development Department is responsible for issuing permits that may be required for your special event. You will need to work with us and request a permit if:
- You will be erecting a tent(s) where the total combined size of the covered area is 700 sq ft or larger. If this is the case, you will need a Tent Permit. ($70 permit fee)
- You will be using a vehicle or trailer mounted generator to supply on-site power. If this is the case, you will need an Electrical Permit. ($100 permit fee)
- You will be utilizing a space/site in a way that is different from the site’s intended use. For example, if you will be hosting a festival or concert in a parking lot. If this is the case, you will need a Temporary Use Permit.
Risk management is tasked with ensuring that event organizers are protected for their events. By ensuring that organizers have adequate event insurance in place, we are able to help protect the interests of both the city and the event organizer in the unlikely event of a claim occurring.
Please view an example of the City of Green Bay’s certificate of insurance requirements.
- How do I know if I need another permit within the City of Green Bay?
- If you plan to have alcohol at your event, it must be included on your application and you must apply for a Picnic Permit through the Clerks Department.
- If you are having your event in a parking lot, you may need a Temporary Use Permit. Please call (920)-448-3006 for clarification.
- If you plan to have amplified sound outside of the approved ordinance (7am – 10pm) then you must contact our Green Bay Police Department for a Noise Permit at (920) 448-3217.
- If you plan to use tents you may need a Tent Permit from the Department of Community and Economic Development. Review the Tent Permit Guide (PDF).
- MEMBRANE STRUCTURES ONLY / (not open tents)
- You will be erecting a tent/membrane structure over 400 sq. ft. (Permit Required)
- OPEN TENTS ONLY (if you meet any of the following)
- You will be erecting an open tent over 700 sq. ft. (Permit Required)
- You will be erecting smaller open tents directly adjacent to each other where the aggregate area of the smaller tents erected is greater than 700 sq. ft. and there is no 1ft. separation distance to the front or rear of them from an adjacent structure and/or other tents. (Permit Required)
- You will be erecting separated open tents where the aggregate area is greater than 700 sq. ft. This layout requires a minimum 12 ft. separation distance between them and other tents and/or structures. (Permit Required)
- ELECTRICAL PERMIT
- You will be utilizing electricity in the tent or for the event. (Permit Required)
- Please see the Tent Permit Guide (PDF) for specifics and contact information.
- What is the difference between the special event permit application fee and other fees?
- If your event is considered a special event, you will pay a special event permit application fee.
- If you reserve a public space like City Deck, a park, or trail then you will also pay a reservation fee to the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.
- If your event requires any City of Green Bay services including but not limited to: Risk, Police, Fire, Public Works, or Community & Economic Development Departments then you will receive an invoice directly from the department that serviced your event.
- Why are there deadlines and fees involved with special events?
- Special events taking place in the City of Green Bay are supported by the same staff that serve the citizens of Green Bay. Timely applications allow for planning and scheduling of staff as well as access to equipment and supplies.
- Special event committee members and support staff work to coordinate your event which can include supplies, equipment, coordination of staff, their wages and city services.
- Does the City of Green Bay have an ordinance for special events?
Yes, please read Chapter 10 Article IX of the Green Bay Municipal Code. The City of Green Bay also follows State of Wisconsin and Federal Government regulations and industry standards.
- Should I contact the Special Events Coordinator before submitting my application?
You are encouraged to contact the events coordinator prior to submitting your application and at any stage in the planning process! 920-448-3006.