Approval Process

Permits for 2024 can be submitted beginning September 1, 2023.


Special Events Defined: 
A Special Event means a pre-planned activity sponsored by an individual, group, organization or entity proposed to be held on public property, including public streets, sidewalks, trails, facilities, parks, or other property owned or managed by the city, which would significantly impact either public property and/or normal vehicular and pedestrian traffic requiring the use of city services.

Examples of Special Events include but are not limited to the following: A parade, festival, foot race, bike or wheeled race, celebration, amusement event, cultural recognition, sporting event, First Amendment demonstration referred by the police department, competition, commercial movie or television production, photography shoot, commercial for-profit event, charitable cause, or other similar activity.

Applications are due 60-120 days prior to the date of the special event, depending on the scope and complexity of the proposed event. 

Applications are due for:

  •  Small events (less than 500 people) 60 days prior
  •  Medium events (more than 500 but less than 1,000 people) 90 days prior
  •  Large events (more than 1,000 people) 120 days prior

All Permits are subject to approval. Some events are required to hire off-duty officers and/or off-duty EMTs/Fire Marshals. The approval process starts when an application is received in full and the non-refundable permit fee has been paid. The special event permit fees are based on the event's complexity. 

Application Process 

  • Confirm the date and time of the proposed event by contacting the Special Events Manager. 
  • Gather all the necessary documents for the application.
  • Submit the Special Events Permit Application Online.
  • Pay the non-refundable permit application fee 
  • The Special Events Committee reviews the permit application
  • Dates are secured once the permit has been approved by the Special Events Committee and all additional fees have been paid. 

For Special Events permits or questions, please contact Katie Giani at or at 843-805-3225. 

We no longer accept the paper version of the application. All special events permit applications must be submitted through the online application. 

 At this time, we are not taking applications for new road races on the peninsula (unless at Hampton Park). Please reach out to the Special Events Manager for alternative locations and more information.

 COVID notes: The City’s mask ordinance must be followed as well as the social distancing guidelines that are in place. If there is a spike in COVID numbers, emergency ordinances may have to be reactivated.

Site Plan Samples
Below are downloadable PDF site plans to create a template site plan for the special event application. These plans indicate the available access to electricity outlets, water hookups, and more. 

  1. Katie Giani

    Special Events Manager

Sustainable Events Guide

Learn how to make your event sustainable by consulting the Sustainable Events Guide. Screenshot 2023-10-23 15223200 Opens in new windowEvery event hosted within the City of Charleston is expected to be sustainable and follow the single-use plastic regulations.

Discover how by consulting our Sustainable Event Guide!

Helpful Links

Permit Application
Submit the special event permit application.

Code of Ordinance 
Read through our local special events ordinance.

Special Event Calendar
View the special event calendar. This calendar displays current permitted special events.