Special Event Forms & FAQs

FAQs

Great resources for community event listings include the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau. For events on the Plaza or in Depot Park, you can view the calendar on our Special Events page, or subscribe to e-mail updates on upcoming special events.

As part of the agreement between the City of Sonoma and the Sonoma Tourism Improvement District (TID), a Special Event Promotional Program has been established as a funding mechanism to support special events that drive overnight room stays within City limits. Preference is provided to special events that are scheduled in the “off-season,” defined as November through April.  Applications are accepted annually during a set period.

The City of Sonoma does not require a use permit for public protest being held on City property. However, advance knowledge of a protest helps the City prepare for any possible situations that might arise due to the public protest. If you are planning a protest please contact the Lisa Janson (415) 259-9458 or Rebekah Barr, City Clerk (707) 933-2216.

If you have an idea for a cultural event that is relevant to our community but don’t know where to start please feel free to contact Lisa Janson Special Events Manager for the City of Sonoma (415) 259-9458.

Most parks are available on a first come-first serve basis unless the park has been reserved in advance for a special event. For those individuals looking to reserve a park facility for a special event please contact Lisa Janson at (415) 259-9458, the process starts by reviewing the Special Events calendar to ensure the space is available. If it is available, a Use Application can be downloaded, completed and emailed to events@SonomaCity.org. The Special Events Manager will follow-up once the application is received, fees will be calculated and a check payable to the City of Sonoma will be requested. Once the completed application and fees are received the approval process begins. It typically takes 1-2 weeks for an approval of a small event and up to 6 weeks to approve a large scale event.

It is always a good idea to check with the City, and be sure the date you have in mind is open for use. As a general rule, small birthday parties and picnics do not need to rent space, but you would want to make sure another large event is not scheduled simultaneously. If you are planning an event that will have music, a substantial attendance, catered food and/or other vendors, an application must be submitted.

Small events are usually approved administratively, and within a few days. Larger events have a more extensive review.

Large events are first reviewed by the Special Events Committee(SEC). This is a preliminary staff review, and the Committee consists of the Parks Supervisor, the Chief of Police, the Public Works Director and a representative from the Fire Department.

After review and recommendation from the SEC, the event is then reviewed by the Community Services and Environment Commission (CSEC). They will decide final approval or denial.

The City of Sonoma does require a Film Permit to be on file prior to any filming/ photo shoots taking place within City limits, this process takes approximately 15 business days to complete. If you are planning on filming within the City limits the City requires a list of specific locations, times, written permission from property owners, insurance coverage, posting/notification to public to be included in your Film Permit. If you have any questions please contact Special Events Manager Lisa Janson 415.259.9458 or lisa@maveneventsllc.com.

You can see upcoming events on our calendar of events page.

The Plaza and Depot Park can both be used to host weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, and going away events. Please note the City does not have anyone on staff who can officiate a wedding, it is the responsibility of the Use applicant to coordinate.
Contact Lisa Janson, Special Events Manager, at (415) 259-9458 for a Special Event Application.

These are used for parades or other events where total street closure within the City is required, i.e. a race.

A Street Use Application may be found and downloaded from the “Form” page (page and link needed).

Most parks are available on a first come-first served basis unless the park has been reserved in advance for a special event. For those individuals looking to reserve a park facility for a special event please contact Lisa Janson at (415) 259-9458.

The process starts by reviewing the Special Events calendar to ensure the space is available. If it is available a Use Application can be downloaded, completed and emailed to events@SonomaCity.org.  Please note priority for use of a section of either park is always granted to the individual/organization that has an approved Use Application Permit on file. If you are planning an event that includes the use of suppliers/vendors i.e. party rental companies, musicians, caterers etc., a Use Application Permit is necessary.

The Special Events Manager will follow-up once the application is received, fees will be calculated and a check payable to the City of Sonoma will be requested. Once the completed application and fees are received the approval process begins. It typically takes 1-2 weeks for an approval of a small event and up to 6 weeks to approve a large scale event.

The Post-Event Review is an opportunity for you, as the event organizer, staff and the CSEC to discuss the success of the event, and how to proceed in the future. Typically, this review provides a positive basis for continuing the event in the future, and an opportunity to let event organizers know about any changes in policy.

To sell alcoholic beverages, you need a liquor license. You can find information about buying a liquor license from the California Department of Alcohol & Beverage Control (ABC). The nearest local ABC office is in Santa Rosa. You can call them at (707) 576-2165. Your business may also need special review and approvals from the City of Sonoma. Contact the Planning Department and we’ll let you know.
 
You can also get temporary licenses for events.  More information can be found on our Special Events pages. Please complete the form and email it to events@SonomaCity.org.  You are required to collect the signatures from the property owner and the Police Department.

Sonoma’s Tuesday Night Market  presented by Valley of the Moon Certified Farmers Market in partnership with City of Sonoma takes place every Tuesday evening from 5:30 p.m. to dusk, May thru September in the historic Sonoma Plaza.  Additional local markets include the Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers Market (Fridays year-round, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the Arnold Field parking lot at 241 First St. W.),  the Springs Community Farmers Market (Sundays October-December, 10 a.m. -2 p.m. in Boyes Hot Springs on Hwy 12 near the Post Office), and the Saturday Harvest Market at the Sonoma Garden Park.

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