Philadelphia’s special events industry is growing, and the Office of Special Events will take a leading role in building the City’s event capacity by streamlining inter-agency coordination, increasing community and business engagement efforts and leading research into international municipal best-practices.

The Office of Special Events (OSE) exists to ensure that all necessary permits, licenses, insurances and agreements are executed prior to any event that seeks the use of City-owned or occupied property, City equipment and/or City services.  OSE processes more than 1,400 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 OSE have expanded considerably in recent years. OSE has streamlined 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, OSE offers prospective event producers assistance with event production through in-person and remote consultations while delivering comprehensive customer service to the citizens of Philadelphia, local community groups, business associations, and event producers from around the world.  OSE maintains numerous websites and social media platforms to ensure that the citizens of Philadelphia are notified of event-related information including schedules of upcoming events and road closures.

As the primary manager of operational response to special events taking place in Philadelphia, OSE is responsible for review, permitting and coordination of all proposed demonstration (First Amendment) activity.  OSE is also responsible for preparing and executing RFP’s for large-scale special events on behalf of the City.  Past efforts include the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic and the Made in America Music Festival.

OSE is also positioning itself as a vital contributor to Philadelphia’s marketing efforts through the promotion of the City’s special events industry. Through the efforts of the OSE, the City of Philadelphia was named a “2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 World Festival & Event City” by the International Festival & Events Association (IFEA). The winning award submission for 2014 can be viewed here; the 2015 entry can be found here; the 2016 entry can be seen here; the 2017 entry is located here; and the 2018 entry here!