Special Events in Arlington County

ATTENTION: Arlington County is accepting applications for Special Event Permits and will review them based on our capacity to provide public safety personnel and to accommodate applicants with an appropriate location for the event activity.

Special Event Permits are needed to host organized outdoor special events that draw a crowd, include alcohol or require street closures, and indoor public events that require police support.

Aside from a Special Event Permit, event organizers may need to reserve space with the County; get permits for tents, open flames or parking restrictions; or have food and fire inspections among a number of additional County services.  As you apply for the Special Event Permit you will be prompted regarding additional permits and regulations.

If a special event requires the temporary closure of one or more streets, you will need a Special Event Permit (Street Closure) in addition to the Special Event Permit.

Block Parties, which encompass only one block, do not include alcohol or amplified sound, and are held for local neighbors, do not need Special Event Permits. There is a Block Party Permit.

What’s a Special Event?

Special events include celebrations, historical reenactments, entertainment, exhibitions, parades, fairs, festivals, pub crawls and similar events on public spaces. Special Events as related to this application are not demonstrations, block parties, regularly repeating events such as Farmers’ Markets or casual public space use by citizens, visitors or tourists.

  • Large events (include any of the followingmust apply for a Special Event Permit 90 days in advance.
    • Estimated attendance of 500 or more persons
    • A total street closure
    • Offer alcohol
    • Any event determined by the County as having a substantial impact on the adjacent community
  • Small events are under 500 participants that do not require a total street closure, do not include alcohol and do not substantially impact the adjacent community must apply for a Special Event Permit 30 days in advance.

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Special Event Application Process

  • Completed applications are given a confirmation number. All inquiries must use this confirmation number.
  • Event dates and locations are approved based on the availability of County resources to support the event. If County services are needed but unavailable, the County will work with the Event Organizer to select alternate times or dates.
  • County policy prohibits rain dates.
  • Special Event Permits will be issued upon receipt and review of the application and all necessary permits, licenses, and payment of fees. Permits are revoked if event-day inspections are not successful or if insurance certificates are not received seven days prior to the event.
  • Depending on the size and type of event, the event organizer may need to attend a meeting with the Special Events Committee to review the Special Event application. Meetings are once a month.

If you have questions regarding whether your event needs a Special Event Permit or other questions, please contact the Office of Special Events.

Special Event Fee Reduction Program

Fee reductions are awarded annually to qualified nonprofit organizations (such as partnerships, heritage groups and other community groups) to offset costs for required law enforcement, fire and emergency response personnel services. Fee reduction awards are limited to the actual County public safety charges related to required services for the event.

  • Eligible nonprofit organization may receive a maximum of two fee reduction awards per County fiscal year.
  • Fee reduction awards are a maximum of $4,000, per event, if the event is approved.
Nonprofit Special Events Held Between Fee ReductionApplication Due Fee Reduction Awards Announced
July 1 – December 31 May 31 June 30
January 1 – June 30 September 30 October 31

Accurate Information

Criminal or administrative sanctions may be applied to any event sponsor or group who supplies false or substantially misleading information on any form, document, certificate and liability waiver in the application or furtherance of a Special Event. For more information refer to:

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