The City of Buena Vista celebrates special events for their contributions to cultural, recreational, community and economic growth. We’re pleased you’ve chosen Buena Vista as the site for your event. We strive to provide excellent assistance while facilitating your event needs.

Please take into consideration that organizing a successful event will usually require months of planning, much of which must be done prior to submitting an application to the City. Depending on the scope of your event, a number of City, regional and state agencies may be involved in the logistics necessary to produce a safe and successfully executed event.

To get started, please read the information below, then fill out the  application in the menu to the right. 

Once your application has been received, our Special Event Review Team will review your application and contact you with next steps.

Best of luck for a successful event!

Application Procedure

Special Event Permits are required for any Special Event that utilizes public spaces, such as parks, streets, greenways, and plazas. Events contained to private property do not require a Special Event Permit. Event permits are issued on a first come, first serve basis - with preference given to annual events and city sponsored events. See full policy for additional details.

  1. Applicants may submit the application using the menu at the top of the page or pick up a physical application in the office of Community & Economic Development located on the 2nd floor of city hall, 2039 Sycamore Avenue.
  2. Once an application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the Special Event Review Panel and a response will be sent to the applicant within seven (7) business days. Larger events or events requiring certain resources may require additional review time. The SERP will notify applicant if the review will take longer than 7 business days.
  3. The SERP may issue provisional approval for any application requiring more information or additional permits/licenses.
  4. The applicant will be notified by email as soon as a decision is made. The organizer and applicant shall be responsible for notifying all businesses and residences which adjoin any right of way which will be barricaded as a result of the event.

Event Types & Deadlines

Races, Walks, and Parades:

    • Organized non-stationary activities involving running, biking, walking, marching, or other means of transportation, utilizing a fixed course that involves the use or obstruction of City street rights-of-way, City sidewalks, City parks or greenways.
    • Deadline: 30 days prior to event

General Events:

    • Organized activities that have a stationary footprint in an identifiable location for a specific duration of time, often involving amplified sound, food, beverage, merchandise displays, and/or other forms of entertainment.
    • Examples include festivals, performances, carnivals/fairs, rallies, exhibits, markets, parties, weddings, conventions and other similar events.
    • Includes events held in public parks.
    • Deadline:
      • Up to 100 in attendance - 30 days prior to event 
      • 100+ in attendance - 60 days prior to event

Neighborhood Block Parties:

    • Organized small-scale activities that close a limited number of blocks on a low traffic volume residential street.
    • These small-scale gatherings are initiated by and are intended to attract only residents who live on or in close proximity to the street being closed.
    • Block parties are not intended for the general public
    • Deadline:
      • Up to 100 in attendance -  15 days prior to event 
      • 100+ in attendance - 30 days prior to event

Private Park Events:

    • Organized small-scale events that are held in park facilities.
    • These small-scale gatherings are intended only to attract invitees and are not intended for the general public.
    • Examples include, birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and other similar events. 
    • This does not include concerts or any event serving alcohol
    • Private park events are not required to submit a site plan, hire security, or obtain insurance.
    • Deadline:  10 days prior to event 
    • Events defined as private park events should fill out the "Private Park Event - Reservation Request Form"

Filming & Photography:

    • An organized activity involving film and/or still photography production that requires the use of a public right-of-way, City park, or other outdoor City property.
    • Filming activity that does not impact vehicular or pedestrian traffic or normal usage of the public right-of-way or other public property, such as individual portraiture, is exempt from review and permitting under this Policy
    • Deadline:  14 days prior to event

Spontaneous Events: 

    • Any public gathering, demonstration, procession or parade which is responsive to events recently in the news, or which attempt to influence an event in the near future (such as a legislative action or an election) for which the effectiveness of expression is time sensitive.
    • Deadline:  ASAP, no later than 48 hours prior to event

Late Applications

    • The Special Event Review Panel may consider late applications. The SERP cannot guarantee that any event application will be reviewed if it is submitted in less that the number of days prescribed above.

Final event type determination is at the full discretion of the Special Event Review Team. 

Site Plans

Site plans are required if:
  • The event includes street closures and parades. The site plan shall provide for law enforcement personnel to direct traffic for any parade or for a street closure if necessary for public safety.
  • A sidewalk gathering involves a procession of persons crossing streets as part of the event.
  • Any part of an organized public gathering will occur between dusk and dawn.
  • Alcohol will be served at an event
What to include in the site plan:

Applicants shall submit a site plan to the SERP with the application to address

  • traffic disruptions
  • pedestrian safety
  • lighting
  • factors bearing on the safety, order, and accessibility to streets and sidewalks,
  • max number of persons in an area
  • control of animals.
  • Designated area for alcohol consumption

Depending on the scale of the planned event, the following considerations may need to be addressed:

  • Water supply. If required, the applicant shall provide an ample supply of potable water for drinking and sanitation purposes on the premises of events.
  • Toilet and/or lavatory facilities. If required, the applicant shall provide a statement and plan concerning adequate toilet and/or lavatory facilities. A description of the type (flush type or portable chemical) and number of toilets available shall be provided.
  • Traffic and parking control plans. If required, the applicant shall submit the following:
    • A detailed map showing the location of vendors, booths, or other installations which might hinder the ability of rescue or safety vehicles at the site.
    • A depiction of the areas designated for alcohol consumption and distribution if applicable.
    • A depiction of the location of any sound amplification devices to be used in connection with the event.
    • A detailed map indicating the type of existing traffic control for each intersection impacted along the route of the parade or road race and a plan shall be provided for temporary traffic control at each impacted intersection during the event.

A site plan may be rejected by the SERP for any valid reason with explanation to the applicant. No changes may be made to an approved site plan without the expressed, written consent of the SERP.

Find a sample map here: Site Plan Sample Map - Downtown

Event Insurance

Any event requiring a site plan will require insurance: The applicant will provide the City with the following:

  • A Certificate of Insurance (COI) providing evidence of appropriate liability insurance of a minimum of $1,000,000 and property damage of $100,000. The addendum must include this exact wording: “The City of Buena Vista, 2039 Sycamore Avenue, Buena Vista, VA 24416, is hereby named as additional insured.” If the event involves alcohol consumption, then the liability insurance minimum will be $2,000,000.
  • An Endorsement from the insurance company licensed to do business in the Commonwealth listing the City as an Additional Insured is also required. The insurance company must have a minimum financial rating from the A.M. Best Company of an “A” or better. If alcohol will be served, the City requires a Liquor Liability endorsement to be added to the insured’s policy.


Security officers will be required for the duration of any event including alcohol and any event where public safety may be a concern at the discretion of the Special Events Review Panel (SERP).

  • The event security personnel must be certified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
  • The number of security officers is determined by the following:
    • If alcohol will be served at an event with 50 or less in attendance, one (1) security officer will be required.
    • If alcohol will be served at an event with more than 50 in attendance, two (2) security officers will be required.
    • If the SERP feels that public safety is a concern during any event, security officers may be required. The SERP will determine the number of officers required on a case by case basis.
  • Buena Vista Police may be hired for event security at a rate of $40/hr per officer. If you would like to hire BVPD, state this request in the “resources” section of the application
    • Private security companies may be used in place of BVPD

The applicant shall submit proof of security to the SERP with the application.

Additional Requirements

Certain special events may also require federal, state or local permits, including but not limited to:

  • Buena Vista amusement device permit
  • Land use permit for events conducted in the Virginia Department of Transportation right-of-way
  • Special event license from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
  • Temporary restaurant permits from the Virginia Department of Health

The applicant shall be responsible for obtaining and complying with any such permit(s) and furnish a copy(s) with the application and bear any costs thereof.

City Resources

Below is a list of resources available from the City and departments within.

  • Traffic Cones
  • Garbage Cans
  • Picnic Tables
  • Street Signs
  • Portable Stage (11' Wide  x  22' Long)
    • May not be placed in the middle of the street. The stage may be placed along curbs or in open areas.
      • The SERP will determine whether the stage may be placed in the requested area
  • If the stage cannot be placed in requested area, the SERP will suggest another location
  • Staffed Traffic Control*
  • Security officer from Buena Vista Police Department*
  • Trash Pickup following the event*
  • Bathroom cleaning and maintenance*

Resources with an asterisk (*) may require additional fees at the discretion of the SERP, depending on the size and time of the event and location of the resource.

Resources in bold may be required at the discretion of the SERP, depending on the size, location, and type of event.

NOTE: Physical Resources may be dropped up for Event staff to set up or city staff may set them up. If you would like city staff to set these items up, please specify on application. Set up may have additional fees for evenings and weekends.

The information on this page does not outline the full Special Event Policy. Applicants are responsible for reviewing the Full Special Event Policy document in the menu to the right of this page.