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Special Events

Allentown is host to hundreds of special events each year including fairs, festivals, marathons, fund-raising walks, community and cultural celebrations, and much more.

The Bureau of Special Events (SE) works with other City departments to make sure that those who host events have:

  • All necessary permits.
  • Licenses.
  • Insurances.
  • Agreements.

Special events permits are needed for any event that uses:

  • City-owned or occupied property.
  • City equipment.
  • City services.

Allentown’s special events industry is increasing, and the Bureau of Special Events will take a leading role in the City’s event capacity by streamlining city department coordination, increasing community and business engagement efforts and leading inquiry into international municipal best-practices.

The Bureau of Special Events ensures that all necessary permits, licenses, insurances and agreements are executed prior to any event that pursues the use of City-owned or occupied property, City equipment and/or City services. The bureau processes some 200 special event applications each year, generates departmental service requests, and invoices event organizers for City equipment and/or services rendered in connection with special events.

The responsibilities of the bureau have expanded considerably in recent years. We are working to streamline the special event application intake process, ensuring that stakeholders from the public and private sectors have a single point of contact to guide them through the special event application process. As a front-line municipal agency, we strive to deliver comprehensive customer service to the citizens of Allentown, local community groups, business associations, and event producers. SE will coordinate with various departments that manage websites and social media platforms to ensure that the citizens of Allentown are notified of event-related information including schedules of upcoming events and road closures in addition to distributing public service announcements on billboards throughout the city.

As the primary liaison of operational response to special events taking place in Allentown, SE is responsible for review, permitting and coordination of all planned activity. SE is also responsible for large-scale special events on behalf of the City. Efforts include Fourth of July Celebrations and Fireworks, the Halloween Parade, Classics and Cruisers, Veterans Appreciation Month, and Lights in the Parkway which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2021.

Special Events, Bureau in the Department of Community and Economic Development, a vital contributor to Allentown’s marketing efforts through the promotion of the City’s special events industry.

Please be advised: The Bureau of Special Events is accepting applications for special events/public gatherings at this time. Please be sure to review CDC, state and local attendance and other guidelines. Submit a completed Special Event Application with all required supporting documentation to apply for a permit.