The City of Portsmouth has a strong commitment to arts and culture and to being a place that offers a variety of diverse events and activities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. On average, there are 68 events in the city each year that require some form of municipal coordination and city approval. And, while the various events add to the overall community vitality and diversity, the City Council recognizes the need to manage the number and logistics of events to assure each event meets health, traffic, parking and safety regulations and that there is not an unreasonable disruption for residents and businesses.
Things to Consider When Planning Events
- Review the community events calendar before scheduling or publicizing an event to avoid conflicts with other events.
- Avoid events on significant religious days that generate traffic to religious institutions located downtown.
- Promote use of public transit and remote parking for event participants and attendees.
- To the extent possible, street closures should be avoided and alternate event venues (i.e. Vaughan Mall) such as public parks or private properties should be considered.
Administrative Process for Events Management
- Event organizers must write a letter to the Mayor and City Council, with a copy to the City Manager, requesting permission to hold an event in the city. Letter should include the date, time, location, and a brief description of the event and if there is a need for street closure. A map and or route is required for festivals, road events, walkathons and other events.
- Following City Council consideration of the request and depending on the nature and logistics of the event, the City Manager conveys the City Council’s decision via letter to the event organizer. If the event is approved, a meeting with the City Manager is requested to discuss the event.
- The City Manager invites representatives from city departments to the meeting with event organizers to discuss logistics and municipal support of the event. City staff invited to the meeting varies depending on the specific event. Considerations include event location, the anticipated influx of people and the type of event management required such as traffic control, street closure, food vending, parking needs, and police, fire, ambulance or health department support/oversight.
- Large events that require street closures must receive approval from the City Council three months in advance of the event. Request letter should be submitted four months in advance of event to allow adequate lead time for City Council consideration.
- Event organizers are required to submit a certificate of insurance that meets city insurance requirements and that names the city as certificate holder as well as an additional insured for the duration of the event.
- If an event requires street closures or generates significant traffic, police must be hired for traffic control at the organizer’s expense. This arrangement and cost will be discussed at the event meeting cited above.
- Event organizers are required to pay for use of metered parking spaces that are taken out of service during events.
- In most cases, event organizers are required to pick up trash on public streets following events.
- Prior to hosting any event, an event permit must be purchased from the City Clerk's office for $50.00.