Host a Special Event

Thank you for hosting your event in Norman! Known for hosting many annual festivals, the City of Norman encourages special events held within an environment that allows for fun and excitement, but also adequately provides for the protection of citizens, visitors, and all participants.

The objective of the Special Events Permit is to streamline the process to assist event planners; protect health and the welfare of the public; and regulate traffic, parking, sanitation, noise, and Accessibility. The City of Norman has enacted an ordinance, Chapter 13 Sections 13-2701 to 13-2716 of the City of Norman Code of Ordinances, in order to provide guidelines. The information below is designed to help event organizers navigate those guidelines as they plan successful and safe public events. 

Special Events Guidelines

INTRODUCTION

Permits are often required to hold events such as festivals, parades, walks and runs, carnivals, etc. on public right-of-way including streets, sidewalks, alleys, and easements. Permits are also required to hold outdoor public events on private property and on other City-owned property such as parks. Please consult the qualifications for special events (as defined in the Special Events Ordinance and summarized below) to determine if your event requires a permit.

Because every event is unique, it is important to begin your planning early and consult with City staff as soon as possible. Large and/or first year events often require coordination amongst several departments and hence more time to plan. Our goal is to help you make your event planning in Norman as seamless as possible.

Contact us early in your planning process, so we can help you from the start:

 

Community & Business Relations Division, Office of the City Manager

201 West Gray Street Norman, OK 73069

(405) 366-5257

Email: Sara.Kaplan@NormanOK.gov

WHAT MAKES A SPECIAL EVENT?

To fall under the City of Norman’s Special Events Ordinance, the planned event should meet all of the following three qualifications:

  • Be accessible and open to the public 
  • Last for two or more hours
  • Be expected to attract 1,000 or more attendees

If your event is private, expected to last less than two hours or for a group smaller than 1,000, the ordinance will not apply to you. However, an event may require another type of permit or variance, such as a street closure, sign permit or noise variance. Events held on property owned by Cleveland County, the University of Oklahoma, or the State of Oklahoma do not fall under the administration of the City of Norman.

If unsure, please contact Sara Kaplan at (405) 366-5257 or via email at Sara.Kaplan@NormanOK.gov to determine the needs for your event.

SPECIAL EVENT APPLICATION PROCESS

  • Download the Special Event Application from the Business Licensing page or obtain a hard copy from the City Clerk’s Office. 
  • Complete the application with the applicable information regarding the type of event, date, location, durations, contact information, liability insurance information, and health and safety details.
  • Provide supplemental documentation:
    • Detailed map of proposed event area/location (see Event Site Plan below)
    • Proof of insurance naming the City of Norman as additional insured.
  • Submit the completed application and the supplemental documentation to the City Clerk’s office at least 90 days prior to the event.
  • Upon review of your application, the City Clerk will approve or deny an application in writing no later than the 15th working day after the City Clerk has received all supporting documentation. Upon approval, the City Clerk will recommend the necessary steps and/or any additional permits needed for your event.
  • In the case of denial, the City Clerk shall state the reason for denial. The appeal process for such a denial is outlined in the Special events ordinance (Sec. 13-2709)

EVENT SITE PLAN

As part of your Special Event Application, you will need to provide a detailed site plan indicating the location of the following items for your event:

  • Accessible Routes & Wayfinding
  • Beer/Liquor Sales Locations
  • Carnival Rides
  • Emergency Access Points (including a 16” unobstructed fire lane)
  • Event Headquarters
  • Fencing
  • First Aid Tents
  • Parking Areas (including Accessible Parking)
  • Public Entry Points
  • Restrooms (including Accessible Restrooms)
  • Security Tent(s)
  • Sign/Banner Placement
  • Stages/Production Areas
  • Street Closures
  • Trash & Recycling Receptacles
  • Vendor Booths/Tents
  • Other Pertinent Details

ACCESSIBILITY

It is the policy of the City of Norman that no person or groups of persons shall on the grounds of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, place of birth, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, marital status, including marriage to a person of the same sex, disability, retaliation, or genetic information, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise subjected to discrimination in employment activities or in all programs, services, or activities administered by the City, its recipients, sub-recipients, and contractors. In the event of any comments, complaints, modifications, accommodations, alternative formats, and auxiliary aids and services regarding accessibility or inclusion, please contact the ADA Technician at (405)-366-5424, Relay Service: 711. To better serve you, five (5) business days’ advance notice is preferred.

As required by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, all events, workshops, conferences, hearings, or any other activities held on City property (City facilities, including buildings and parks, and public rights-of-way) must be accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Accessibility Planning: Planning for accessibility from the beginning improves the chances of creating an event that is enjoyable for all participants. Efforts to provide access after critical decisions have been made, such as selecting a site, may result in “add-on” solutions that may be costlier or less effective than necessary. Review the entire process of producing the event often to ensure that accessibility is provided and maintained. Assess sites, identify barriers, and determine what kinds of modifications may be needed by using the checklist at https://adachecklist.org/checklist.html.
  • Accessible Routes: An accessible route for your event is critical to the successful use of a site. A single continuous accessible pedestrian path should be wide, smooth, as level as possible, and without low or overhanging hazards or obstructions. Avoid surfaces that are unstable, rough, steep, have lose material which may result in slipping, grated or grilled with openings wider than ½ inch, carpeted, not leveled, or those that have small abrupt vertical changes that may make it difficult for citizens with mobility disabilities to navigate.
  • Accessible Parking: When necessary, temporary accessible spaces can be created in permanent paved lots, dirt lots, or fields. Accessible spaces must be created and held in reserve for people with disabilities. Temporary accessible parking spaces should be located where the surface is firm and stable. If it is possible to find a paved lot with an accessible, locate temporary accessible parking there. Temporary accessible parking lots and spaces should be level and near accessible entrances and routes. Use traffic control cones and/or barricades to set aside accessible parking areas, and designate each space with a sign displaying the accessibility symbol. Create an accessible route from the parking access aisle to the event entrance. As much as possible, accessible parking spaces and drop-off points should be the same route used by participants. Accessible parking and drop-off points must be located on an accessible route that connects to accessible entrances.
  • Accessible Communication: Citizens with disabilities may need aids or services from materials in large print, Braille, audio format, readers, American Sign Language Interpreters, written material, captioned videos, assisted listening devices, and/or other types of auxiliary aids to participate in your event. Consider the barriers these citizens may face in participating in your event. Advertising your event, communicating directions, providing guidance on event programming, agendas, information about the accessibility of your event, how to locate accessible parking, and the location of accessible restrooms are some but not all of the factors to take into consideration. The type of assistance needed will depend on several factors, including the individual’s needs and preferences, as well as the nature of the event or activity. We encourage you to utilize organizations such as the ADA National Network to ensure effective communication. Publicity materials should include appropriate symbols of accessibility to indicate various features, aids, or services. When publishing publicity materials, consider multiple ways of communication, including broadcast media, internet-based communication, print media, and radio broadcasts. For more information about accessible communication, visit www.adata.org.
  • Staff and Volunteers: Staff and volunteers should have a basic awareness of and sensitivity to disability issues. Ensuring that your staff and volunteers have clear direction regarding persons with disabilities is critical to hosting an inclusive and accessible event. You are encouraged to advise staff as follows: · View an individual in terms of the whole person and not just the disability · Avoid being anxious or overly protective; people will let you know what they need · Some people will need extra time to move, speak, perform a task, or participate in an activity · Ensure your staff is aware of accessible features at your event, such as accessible toilet rooms, accessible parking, and any auxiliary aids or assistive technology secured for your event
  • Other Considerations: It is critical to consider other potential barriers to accessibility and safety in preparing for your event. Eliminating hazardous protruding and overhanging objects, ensuring that tent and tarps are secured, and providing an accessible method to access services such as event information and ticketing will ensure participants with disabilities enjoy a safe and accessible experience at your event.

For questions regarding ADA requirements, please contact:

Jesse Hill, ADA Technician

201 West Gray Street Norman, OK 73069

(405) 366-5424

Email: Jesse.Hill@NormanOK.gov

For more information, the following resources are available:

           

STREET CLOSURES & PARADES

Street Closures:

Because street closures affect business owners and/or residents, the City of Norman requires applicants to obtain the consent of those affected citizens. This process is outlined in detail in the Special Events Ordinance. The Street Closure permit application should be submitted to the City along with the Special Event permit application.

The cost for the permit is $25. An additional fee based on the cost of labor to place and remove traffic-control barriers may be assessed by the Traffic Control Division. Additional requirements are outlined on the application, please review these carefully. 

In general, the notice of a proposed street closure requires the following:

  • Original signatures of each affected person, including the typed or printed name and address, on a form approved by the City Clerk indicating either support or opposition of the proposed closure. The signatures must be affixed to a document which clearly sets forth the nature of the event planned. 
    • Affected persons are defined as those who have a legal right to possession of any premises to which access will be restricted due to the proposed street closure. If there are multiple affected persons in a single building, only one signature from each unit within the building is required to sign.
    • In commercially zoned areas, 75% of the affected businesses must support the street closure.
    • In residentially zoned area, 90% of the affected persons must support the street closure.
  • Applications for a Street Closing Permit must be submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to the proposed event. 
  • Applicants must contact the Traffic Control Division at (405) 329-0528 to arrange for pick-up or delivery of appropriate barricades.

Parades:

Parade permit is required for all parades hosted in Norman and can be obtained from the Norman Police Department. Typically, parades do not require a Special Events permit, unless the duration of the parade is greater than two hours. 

The application fee for a Parade Permit is $25. An additional fee based on the cost of labor to place and remove traffic-control barriers may be assessed by the Traffic Control.  A full list of conditions and guidelines are available on the Parade Permit Form

  • Applications for a Parade Permit must be submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to the proposed event.
  • Applicants must contact the Traffic Control Division at (405) 329-0528 to arrange for pick-up or delivery of appropriate barricades. 

Both of the above applications are available through the Norman Police Department

VENDORS/OUTDOOR SELLING

If the event plans to include individual vendors as part of the event, the event organizer is required to submit a list of vendors that includes their name, contact information, and sales tax permit number or social security number to the City Clerk’s office with the necessary payment. The cost of the permit will be $10.00 for each vendor expected to operate at the special event. If unexpected or additional vendors participate in the event, the fees for those vendors may be paid up to sixty days following the end of the event. This applies to all special events including those held in parks.

When including vendors at your event you are required to notify the Oklahoma Tax Commission to obtain a Special Event Promoter/Organizer Business Application (Form 13-90). The application and $50 fee must be submitted 20 days prior to your event. You will receive sales tax report forms with your permit number and your will need to distribute these to vendors participating in your event. After the event, collect all of the forms and return them to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

Oklahoma Tax Commission

2501 North Lincoln Boulevard Oklahoma City, OK 73194

Connors Building, Capitol Complex (405) 521-3160

NOISE VARIANCE PERMITS

A noise variance permit is required for the use of sound equipment at an outdoor event. No variance for entertainment or recreational purposes will be permitted earlier than 7:00 a.m. or later than 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and no later than 12:00 a.m. (midnight) Friday and Saturday.

A noise variance permit can be obtained from the Norman Police Department. The fee for the permit is $25. 

 

PUBLIC EVENT BANNERS

A limited license for festival or public event banners is available. These can be used in order to promote events with legitimate public benefit. Those wanting to place public event banners within the public rights-of- way must fill out a Limited License Application for Festival or Public Event Banner(s).

The application should be filed with the Code Compliance Division, and approval is required before banners can be placed. The application must contain a full description of the banner type signs including size, number, type, wording, and location.

Staff will help to establish specific locations of the banners. There is no fee associated with this application.

INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS

A certificate of liability insurance is required and must name the City of Norman as an additional insured. Please submit a copy of your proof of insurance when your submit your event application.

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

To ensure the safety and health of citizens, attendees, event sponsors and workers, event organizers must comply with all local, state and federal regulations and have measures in place to otherwise protect participants.

  • Food vendors, including food trucks, must have appropriate licenses from the Cleveland County Department of Health and the City of Norman.
    • To obtain a temporary food license from the City of Norman, the event organizer must pay a $10.00 fee per food vendor that will operate at the event.
      • If the food vendor already has an active Temporary Mobile Food Service License, they do not need to pay the additional $10.00 fee. The regular price for a Temporary Mobile Food Service License is as follows: $20 for a 1-day permit; $50 for a 30-day permit; $250 for a 180-day permit.
      • The event organizer is required to submit a list of vendors that includes their name, contact information, and sales tax permit number or social security number to the City Clerk’s office with the necessary payment.
        • Each person staffing a food/beverage booth must have a valid food handler’s license.
  • The event organizer is required to provide an adequate number of portable toilets based on the attendance as specified by the Oklahoma Department of Health.
    • A portable toilet may not be placed within 25 feet of an entryway to an adjacent business or residence unless approved by the adjacent property owner or tenant.
    • At miniumum, 5% of all portable toilets must be ADA accessible. For example, if your event provides two portable toilets, one must be ADA-compliant. If your event provides 100 portable toilets, five must be ADA-compliant. 

SAFETY & SECURITY

  • The Norman Police Department will review the security plan as submitted in the application and will determine the number police officers or private security officers required for the event based on the estimated attendance and security risks 
  • Event organizers must provide adequate personnel for security and crowd control. A security agent must meet all of the following requirements: 
    • Be in uniform
    • Be able to contact the police or emergency services if necessary
    • Not be participating in the event
    • Must not consume alcoholic beverages during the event.
  • Norman Fire Department will approve the proposed location and size of any fire lane, booth, tent, stage or other equipment (see "Tents & Stages" below for additional requirements). A fire lane of at least 16 feet must be maintained to allow for access in case of an emergency. The Fire Department will also determine if additional fire protection equipment or personnel is required.
  • The Norman Fire Department will approve the number and type of emergency medical personnel, services, and equipment.
  • The event organizer must provide adequate illumination at night to protect the safety of the attendees.
  • The event organizer must provide an adequate, safe supply of potable water. In addition, there must be access to adequate water supply to extinguish any fire at the site.

ALCOHOL SALES

Additional permits from other agencies are required to sell alcohol at Special Events.

To obtain a license to sell beer, wine, or alcohol at a Special Event, please contact the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission at least 60 days before your event. There is not a County or City permit for this category; however, the ABLE application requires the signatures of the City Clerk and Chief of Police at the City of Norman.

ABLE Commission:

www.ok.gov/able

3812 N. Santa Fe, Suite 200 Oklahoma City, OK 73118

(405)-522-3055 or Toll Free 1-866-894-3517

EVENTS IN PARKS

The City of Norman Parks and Recreation Department operates over 65 parks and other facilities, many of which have pavilions or structures that can be reserved for a reasonable fee. Special events (as defined previously) held in City of Norman Parks must follow the rules of the Special Event Ordinance and may have additional requirements. However, smaller events such as birthday parties and other private gatherings are not required to obtain a Special Event permit.

Park rentals can be made online (https://www.normanok.gov/residents-visitors/parks-recreation/parks) or by calling (405)-366-5472.

A directory of City of Norman Parks can be found online at http://www.normanok.gov/parks/park-directory.

Smoking is prohibited in all City of Norman Parks.

The consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages is general prohibited in City of Norman Parks, with the exception of a few select parks. Appropriately licensed beer and wine vendors are permitted at Legacy Park, Andrews Parks, Lions Parks and Reaves Park if the event has obtained an Special Event Permit and permission of the Director of Parks and Recreation. Additional permitting and security may be required.

TENTS & STAGES

Large tents (bigger than 10 foot by 12 foot) and stages taller than 18 inches require a building permit prior to being erected. To obtain a building permit, contact the Development Services Division or call (405) 366-5339

TRASH REMOVAL & CLEAN-UP

The City of Norman Sanitation Division is happy to provide an appropriate number of trash receptacles, dumpsters, and containers for recyclables for a reasonable fee. Trash collection fees will be based on the type and number of container placed during and after the event. To inquire about these services, contact the Sanitation Division at (405) 329-1023.  

Following the event, the site must be thoroughly cleaned

  • If food/beverage booths are used during an event, the event organizer shall spray-clean the sidewalk and area around the food and beverage booth with water within twenty-four hours from the end of the event or prior to reopening the street.
  • If the event organizer fails to clean the event site promptly, the City of Norman may charge the organizer a fee for the incurred costs of clean up. 

City Clerk - Business Licenses

Additional information and application materials for Business Licensing & Permits including Alcohol, Food Service, Medical Marijuana, Special Events, etc. 

Police Records & Permits

Additional information and application materials regarding Police Permits including Street Closure, Noise Variances, Parades, etc.