Special Event Permits

Thank you for your interest in hosting a special event in Helena. From small neighborhood block parties, to large public events, or video shoots - if your event is going to take place in a City Park, street, or other public space, we have an application process to help you plan a successful, safe event. Each event is different, so the requirements may change depending on the complexity of your activity. Please review the following information on the application and approval process, and contact our Special Events Coordinator with any questions.

Special Event Permit Checklist(PDF, 149KB)

New Permit System

The City is working on updates to its new Permit and License system and will utilize the previous online Special Event Permit form until the new system is ready for use. If you submit a Special Event Permit using the existing online form, you will not experience any disruption in review of your application. 

Planning Your Event

As you prepare to host an event in the City of Helena, please take time to review the permit process and requirements to position your event for approval. If you have questions at any point during the process, please contact us.

Step 1 - Identify if a Permit is Required

Identify if a Permit is Required:

A Special Event Permit must be obtained for the following events:

  1. Any event that involves assembling or traveling in unison on any public street, alley, sidewalk, or other public way owned, controlled, or maintained by the City and which either:
    1. will impede, obstruct, impair, or interfere with the free use of such public street, alley, sidewalk, or other public way owned, controlled, or maintained by the City; or
    2. will not comply with normal or usual traffic regulations or controls.
  2. Any event on property owned, controlled, or maintained by the City involving more than seventy-five (75) people, that does not meet the requirements of solely expressive activity.
  3. Any event requesting a temporary waiver of the City's ordinance prohibiting consumption of alcoholic beverages, or possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages, on public property.
  4. Any event advertised to the public.
  5. If your event takes place in a City Park or on the Downtown Walking Mall, please contact the Parks and Recreation office at 406-447-8463 to reserve the space. Park use fees may be applied.

If your event meets one or more of the above requirements, a Special Event Permit is required. 

Step 2 - Submit Materials

Submit Materials

30 Days Prior to Event
Submit all permits, deposits, and documentation. If you need to use City traffic control equipment, a $500 deposit is due with your permits. Special events are subject to fees that allow for the City to recoup some of the costs associated with the extra labor required for community events.


In addition to the Special Event Permit, you will be required to submit the following additional documentation:

Depending on your event, required documentation may also include:

  • Traffic Control Plan
  • Garbage or Restroom Plan

The City has an interactive map to help you create a Traffic Control Plan. Once your event map is complete, you can export a PDF and upload the document with your online application.

Click Here to View Event Permit Map


City code requires all special events, including block parties, acquire special event insurance. The Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority (MMIA) has resources to help residents find insurance providers for their event. More information can be found at https://mmia.net/riskmanagement/specialevents/.


The City has adopted administrative guidelines for Special Events. Each department that is involved in the Special Event permit process has additional guidelines.

Step 3 - City Review

City Review

City staff will review the event permit(s) for approval. If staff have questions or concerns, the event organizer will be contacted. Staff may schedule a ZOOM meeting during review.

Step 4 - Approval


City staff will notify the event organizer if the Special Event Permit has been approved or denied. Timing of approval will depend on complexity of the event.


The Special Event Coordinator will make the final determination of approval based on the following criteria:

  1. The preparation for, the conduct of and the conclusion of the proposed event will not unreasonably burden City resources necessary to preserve the public's use of the street(s) in the area contiguous to the street(s) or other City property being used for the event.
  2. The preparation for, the conduct of, and the conclusion of the proposed event will not unduly impede, obstruct, or interfere with the operation of emergency vehicles or equipment within the permitted area, or adversely affect the City's ability to perform municipal functions or furnish services in the vicinity of the permitted area.
  3. The proposed event does not otherwise present a substantial or unwarranted health, safety, noise, or traffic hazard.
  4. The proposed event will be of a nature and size appropriate to the proposed venue or site and will occur during approved hours for that venue or site.
  5. The proposed event will not cause other adverse impacts on health or safety to surrounding residential or commercial uses, which cannot be effectively mitigated.
  6. The applicant has obtained all permits required elsewhere in this Code or by other applicable laws, rules, or regulations.

Step 5 - Reserve Equipment

Reserve Equipment

14 Days Prior to Event
If you need to use the City's traffic control equipment. At least 14 days prior to the start of your event, please contact:

Robert Williamson
Traffic Division

Click Here to View Barricade Agreement Form(PDF, 448KB)

Step 6 - Event Walkthrough

Event Walkthrough

48 Hours Prior to Event
The event host is required to conduct an event walkthrough with City staff within 48 hours to the start of an event.


Facility Rentals

Civic Center

The City owns and operates the Helena Civic Center, which offers the community a unique place to enjoy concerts, conferences, conventions, banquets, balls, wedding receptions, expositions, art shows and other special events. The Civic Center has a ballroom and auditorium that are available to rent for events. Civic Center rentals are not managed through the Special Events permit process. 

Visit Civic Center

Parks & Open Lands

The City manages parks and open land spaces that are available for hosting events. The City is committed to balancing general public use and recreation activities, while also providing availability for rental use. Events that are hosted in City Parks or Open Lands do have an application process that is separate from the Special Event Permit.

View Park Reservations and Permits

View Open Lands Permits