Special Event Licenses

A special event is any fair, parade, march, procession, festival, street dance, circus, carnival, concert, performance, rodeo, race, Christmas tree or pumpkin sales lot or other temporary activity using outdoor spaces and inviting public participation and patronage (with or without charge) whether held on public or private property.

The following information relates to special event activities.


In Chandler, there are two types of special events: civic events and commercial activities. A civic event is any special event using or occupying public sidewalks, streets, rights-of-way, or other publicly owned property and must be sponsored by a nonprofit organization; whereas, a commercial activity is any special event using only private property.

The civic event application process starts with the Special Events Coordinator in the Recreation Division of the Community Services Department. The application review involves many departments citywide and requires at least 6 months for processing. These events require at least 50 percent of gross event proceeds, which includes the state requirement of 25 percent, be donated to the event charity.

Civic Event type examples:

  • Ostrich Parade/Festival
  • Rock The Block
  • Classic Car Show
  • Jazz Festival

The commercial activity application process starts with the Fire Department. The application review requires at least 14 days for processing, although it is recommended that applicants apply 30 days or more in advance. If this activity has a liquor license, then it requires at least 25 percent of gross event proceeds, which includes the state requirement of 25 percent, be donated to the event charity.

Commercial activity type examples:

  • Firework Sales
  • Pumpkin/Christmas Tree Lots
  • Extension of Premises
  • Private Fundraiser Events

A special event is defined and regulated by the Chandler Municipal Code (see Chapter 32, Section 1 for definitions and Section 4.1.I for licensing).


Every special event has a sponsor/host. The sponsor/host is required to have a current Business Registration Application or Nonprofit Solicitor license. Any outstanding taxes, penalties, interest, or license fees must be paid. If you are already licensed, then indicate the license number on the Special Event application. If you do not have a license, submit an application for the Transaction Privilege Tax License with the prorated license fee and nonrefundable application fee or the Nonprofit Solicitor application, whichever is applicable. There is no fee associated with the Nonprofit Solicitor application.

Provide the Business Registration Application Supplement with the license application being submitted. For more information, see the section on documentation requirements.

The sponsor/host of the event is tasked with providing a list of registered vendors for their event. Any vendor that does not register with the sponsor/host as a Special Event Vendor shall not be permitted to participate in the special event.

Any Special Event Vendor shall be required to obtain a Business Registration Application, complete the Supplement information, and pay transaction privilege taxes imposed under Chapter 62 of the Chandler Tax Code.

According to the Legal Arizona Workers Act (A.R.S. 41-1080), specific documentation is required to issue a license if your business ownership type is identified as an Individual, Sole Proprietorship, or Husband and Wife business. Before your license can be approved, you must provide a copy of a document indicating your presence in the United States is authorized under federal law (if applying as Husband and Wife, both individuals must provide documentation). For more information and a list of specific documents allowable, see the license application supplement form.

For all special events with the desire to sell or serve alcohol, a permit is required by the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses & Control.

There are three options for obtaining a liquor license to sell or serve alcohol at a special event:

  1. Obtain a special event liquor license for an event where liquor will be sold or furnished by a nonprofit organization. A Special Event Liquor License allows a charitable, civic, fraternal, political or religious organization to sell and serve spirituous liquor for consumption only on the premises where the spirituous liquor is sold, and only for the period authorized on the license.
  2. Obtain a Wine Fair/Festival license for a domestic farm winery to serve samples of its products, sell such products for consumption on the premises and sell their products in original containers for consumption off the premises.
  3. Request a temporary extension of premises for an existing establishment (within the event footprint) that is already licensed to sell alcohol. This serving area needs to be contiguous in order to temporarily expand or enlarge the area which is covered by a current liquor license.
  4. Obtain a Craft Distillery Fair/Festival licensed craft distillery to serve products produced at the craft distillery at a festival, sanctioned county or state fair or within the premises of a licensed special event. Liquor produced under the provisions of the craft distillery may be served for consumption on the fair/festival premises or "to-go" in the original, sealed container.


Provide the completed State Special Event License application, State Fair/Festival License application, State Extension of Premises (temporary/permanent) application, and the completed City application for Special Event, Wine Fair/Festival, Craft Distillery Fair/Festival, or the temporary extension of premises to the City of Chandler, Tax and License Division, a minimum of 21 days prior to the council meeting date and include a nonrefundable application fee of $25 per day of event.

In all of the liquor license options listed above, various City departments will review the application. Upon approval from the various departments, the City Council will review the event and make a recommendation of approval or denial. Upon approval by the City Council, the application must be taken to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for their approval and a State approval returned to the City prior to the event date, so the City can issue the liquor license.


Timeline for Internal Processing:

For more information on the time frames of an application submitted to the City for obtaining a license (permit), click here.