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Five Things to Know About Special Event Permits from the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services

For Immediate Release: Monday, June 26, 2023

From arts and music festivals to fireworks shows and athletic tournaments, Montgomery County is a destination for special events. The County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is committed to ensuring the permitting process for these events is easier than ever.

Carnivals, community festivals, dances, fairs, picnics and recreation activities are examples of activities that may require a special event permit. If a community association, nonprofit or other type of organization is planning an event, it should check to see if a special event permit is needed. To contact DPS about possibly needing a special event permit, call MC 311 or 240-777-0311.

Here are five more things to know about permits before planning a special event that is open to the public in Montgomery County.

  • A Special Event permit is required for events in Montgomery County that generate or invite public participation or spectators resulting in an impact on public streets, sidewalks and adjacent private properties.
  • The application process for a special event begins online. If organizing a special event, it is important to apply for the permit online at least 30 days before the event. The online special event permit application is posted on the DPS website for convenience.
  • The DPS special event permit serves as an organizational guide to ensure events comply with local laws, ordinances and executive regulations. The permit requires event planners to consider and prepare for the safe installation of tents, electrical equipment, stages, traffic management plans and adequate public facilities, such as restrooms.
  • A special event permit helps organizers and planners stay aware of fees that must be paid and inspections that must be passed prior to the approval of licenses and/or permits for the upcoming event. The result is reduced planning timelines and improved coordination with partner agencies including Montgomery County Police, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, ABS, HHS, DEP and DOT. 
  • Depending on the type of special event, additional licenses or permits may be needed from other County departments. Examples are listed below:

         - Food and Beverage from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

         -  Class C One Day Special License from the Department of Alcohol and Beverage Services (ABS).

         - Special Event from the Department of Transportation (DOT).

          - Noise Waiver from Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

“The DPS special event permit serves as a planning tool for event planners to ensure their event is in compliance with local laws, ordinances and executive regulations,” said DPS Deputy Director Ehsan Motazedi. “The goal is that the special event, whether it be a festival or professional golf tournament, is remembered by both organizers and the public as a positive and successful experience.”

Recently, DPS was recognized by the National Association of Counties with a 2023 achievement award for its Special Event Permit in the category of “Civic Education and Public Information.”

For more information about permitting services, visit the DPS website at or stop by the customer service lobby at 2425 Reedie Drive (7th floor) in Wheaton. DPS offices are open from 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary. If you have questions, contact MC 311 or 240-777-0311.

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Release ID: 23-271
Media Contact: Sonya Burke 240-777-6272