Special Events-How to get a permit

We all enjoy the special events in our lives and sometimes we even help organize them.  From family parties and picnics to neighborhood block parties and large festivals, races or parades.

In Lexington, a special event is defined as a pre-planned event, whether publicly and/or privately sponsored where the public is invited and will be held on publicly owned, leased or controlled property, including but not limited to parks, streets, sidewalks, or plaza areas such as the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse or Fifth Third Pavilion, located at 251 West Main Street.

From a family event to a large festival or parade, it’s good to have an emergency plan, which includes what to do in case of severe weather.

Download the Lexington Emergency Management special events emergency planning guide and go through the items.

It’s REQUIRED before you get a final special events permit.

All special events with an anticipated attendance of over 100 people, events in need of any city services, or that would impede the general public, will require a Special Event Permit.

Special events include, but are not limited to:

  • Parade or Procession – A public or private march, walk, parade of any kind, or any other gathering of persons that occurs upon public right-of-way (street, sidewalk, easement, etc.,), that is normally used for vehicular traffic.
  • Festival or public gathering – Any organized festival, fair, gala, ceremony, celebration, dance, or other gathering of persons on a specified date(s) upon public right-of-way (street, sidewalk, plaza, park, easement, etc.)
  • Organized race or ride – required when a competitive vehicle, bicycle, run or walk takes place within a City of Lexington public park, road, plaza, etc.


A neighborhood block party also requires a permit if it requires closing a street.  Permits will be issued by the Division of Traffic Engineering. Permits will be issued only to an adult resident of the interested neighborhood, neighborhood association president or a church pastor/congregation leader.

Block party requirements:

  • The neighborhood must be notified of the event.
  • The neighborhood must be invited to the event – NO PRIVATE PARTIES.
  • Street closings may not interrupt Lextran bus routes.
  • The permit must be requested no later than 10 days prior to the block party date.
  • The permit holder (group representative) is responsible for supplying, erecting and removing necessary barricades for the event.
  • No other ordinance or law shall be violated.

More information about block party permits is available from the Divison of Traffic Engineering at (859) 425-2255 or by email to: traffic@lexingtonky.gov


An event organizer wishing to host a carnival must obtain approval from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Office of Regulations and Inspections at least 30 days before an event. This Office will, if requested, provide event organizers with a list of companies who are insured and licensed to operate carnival rides in Kentucky. Event organizers must also contact LFUCG Fire Marshal’s Office at 859-231-5668, and LFUCG Division of Building Inspection at 859-258-3770 for inspection of temporary structures, tents, bleachers and concession stands.

The vendor or owner of the carnival rides must pay appropriate fees and provide proof of insurance to the State’s Office of Regulations and Inspections. For a schedule of state fees and additional information, contact the state’s Office of Regulations and Inspections at 502-564-4870. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture can be reached at 502-564-5126 and online at www.kyagr.com.

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