Special Event Planning Guide

Welcome to the Town of Hilton Head Island Special Events Planning Guide!

This page is designed to provide you with information about the permits and regulations that may pertain to your special event.

The special event permitting process is designed to insure safe and enjoyable events for participants, spectators and the community. The following requirements apply to all types of events:

Completion of an application does NOT guarantee your event location and/or issuance of a permit for your event.

Event Details

Select the check boxes applicable to your event and the relevant information you will need to apply for a permit will be displayed.

Event Size

  • Less than 250 participants
  • More than 250 participants

Location

  • Town-owned Park/Property
  • Commercial Property
  • Residential Property
  • Roads

Event Specifics

  • Festival, Outdoor Concert, Tournament
  • Parade, Run, Walk, Cycling, Triathlon
  • March/Protest
  • Alcohol, Beer and/or Wine
  • Amusement Rides
  • Amplified Sound
  • Bleachers
  • Fireworks Display
  • Open Burning (bonfires, open flame cooking, etc.)
  • Signs or Banners
  • Vendors: Artists, Musicians, Entertainment and sale of Food, Beverage or Merchandise
  • Stage
  • Tent/Canopy
  • Wedding on the Beach

Information, Requirements, and Forms

Less than 250 participants

While the event may not require a special event permit, it may still require other permits (i.e. tent, vendor, etc.).

Check boxes in 'Location' and 'Event Specifics' to view information about regulations and permits necessary for your event.

More than 250 participants

All outdoor events with more than 250 participants held on public and/or commercial property will require a special event permit.

  • Final attendance estimate may be determined by the Town.
  • Additional permits from other Town departments or other agencies may be required, depending on the scope and location of your event.

Fees

  • Special Event Permit - $100 and
  • Special Event Bond - $500 * Refundable if the site is not damaged
  • Non-profit organizations are exempt from the fee. Submit 501(c) documents with stage permit application.
Other Fees
  • Escrow - Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Services
    • The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office may require that law enforcement be provided to monitor crowd control during the event.
    • The security/law enforcement officers shall be paid by the event applicant.
    • A copy of a signed contract with the security/law enforcement agency shall be provided and the funds shall be placed in escrow with the Town Finance Department.
  • Escrow - Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Services
    • Fire Rescue may require that fire and / or medical personnel be provided for fire prevention and medical coverage during the event.
    • The fire and medical personnel shall be paid by the event applicant.
    • A copy of the estimated fee shall be provided and the funds shall be placed in escrow with the Town Finance Department.

Application Deadline

You must submit an application at least 30 days prior to your event or up to a year in advance.

Special Event Permit Application

All events of this size must submit a Special Event Permit Application.

Check boxes in 'Location' and 'Event Specifics' to view information about regulations and permits necessary for your event.

Town-owned Park/Property

See Also:

Commercial Property

All events held on commercial property are subject to the Town's Special Event Ordinance.

Residential Property

Events held on private residences are exempt from the Special Event Ordinance and do not require a special event permit.

Roads

Street, Lane or Pathway Closure

A Special Events application and Traffic Control Plan must be completed and the applications approved for any events requiring a street, lane or pathway closure.

  • For parades, cycling races, rides, marathons, triathlons, decathlons, runs and walks, a clear and detailed route map will also be required and must be submitted with the Special Events Application for approval.
  • A traffic control plan may be required for events utilizing public streets or multi-use pathways.

Festival, Outdoor Concert, Tournament

Outdoor events with more than 250 participants require a Special Event Permit and may require a Traffic Control Plan approval.

Special Event Permit Application Checklist

  • Fill out a Special Event Permit application
  • Provide a site plan with legend including tent sizes, stage sizes, port-o-lets, etc.
  • Provide written approval from site owner(s).
  • Provide parking arrangements for participants and spectators
  • Provide traffic / crowd control plan
  • Provide a clean-up plan
  • Provide a recycle plan
  • Provide a detailed list of all vendors to include name, address and phone number.
    • All vendors must have a Town of Hilton Head Island business license or special event vendor permit.
    • Promoters or coordinators of art and craft shows, markets or other specialty venues require a Town of Hilton Head Island business license.

See Also:

  • Tent Permit Application
  • Vendor Requirements

Special Event Permit Application

Parade, Run, Walk, Cycling, Triathlon

All events involving road or lane closures, including parades, cycling races, rides, marathons, triathlons, decathlons, runs and walks, require a Special Event Permit and Traffic Control Plan approval.

Special Event Permit Application Checklist

  • Fill out a Special Event Permit application
  • Provide a detailed route map with legend indicating sites for mile markers, aid stations, port-o-lets, etc.
  • Provide a written narrative of the route (turn by turn directions)
  • If any roads or lanes will be closed / used, provide written approval from road owner(s)
  • Provide a detailed site plan with legend of the staging area(s) [beginning and end] including tent sizes, stage sizes, port-o-lets, etc.
  • Provide written approval from site owner(s).
  • Provide parking arrangements for participants and spectators
  • Provide traffic / crowd control plan
  • Provide a clean-up plan
  • Provide a recycle plan
  • Provide a detailed list of all vendors to include name, address and phone number.
    • All vendors must have a Town of Hilton Head Island business license or special event vendor permit.
    • Promoters or coordinators of art and craft shows, markets or other specialty venues require a Town of Hilton Head Island business license.

See Also:

  • Tent Permit Application
  • Vendor Requirements

Special Event Permit Application

March/Protest

As a general rule, the Town does not issue a permit for picket lines or other forms of public assembly unless the number of participants is expected to be 250 or more at any one time.

  • If more than 250 people are expected to attend the event then they must apply for a special event permit.
  • Permission is required to use Town property or public streets for Public Assembly.
    • A traffic control plan may be required.
    • Written request is required to use Town property and/or public streets.

See Also:

Alcohol, Beer and/or Wine

For the provision, sale or consumption of alcohol, beer and/or wine during a special event, you must obtain a Special Event ABL License from the SC Department of Revenue.

https://dor.sc.gov/tax/abl/licenses/special-events

Amusement Rides

A permit to operate amusement rides must be applied for through the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Location approval and on-site inspections will be conducted by Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue and the Building Division.

Amusement Ride Permit Application

Amplified Sound

If you will have amplified music or announcements as a part of your event, you must comply with the Town's Noise Ordinance.

  • A special event permit will allow amplified sound from 10 am - 11 pm.
  • During your event, Code Enforcement Officers must be allowed access within the event for purposes of monitoring the sound levels.

See Also:

  • Noise Ordinance

Bleachers

Fireworks Display

An outdoor fireworks display permit must be applied for through the South Carolina State Fire Marshal's office. The application must be approved by Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue.

Outdoor Fireworks Display Permit Application

Open Burning

(Bonfires, Open Flame Cooking, etc.)

If you are planning to have any bonfires or open burning at your event, you must obtain a permit from the Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Department.

  • You are responsible for following any and all burn bans or fire restrictions at the time of the event.
  • No fire shall be left unattended and should be within a permanently constructed fire pit.
  • Open Burning is not allowed in parks except for fires in grills provided by the Town or in portable grills/stoves on tables.
  • All vendors at your event who cook or heat food with the use of any flames or deep frying, must comply with the regulations set forth by XXX.

See Also:

Signs or Banners

If you want to have banners or signs at your event, a sign permit must be obtained from the Town a description along with locations for the signs should be submitted with the special event application for review by the Town's Community Development Department prior to installation.

Prohibited Signs/Banners

  • Signs attached to trees, utility poles, traffic signal poles, traffic signs or pathway signs
  • Abandoned or dilapidated signs
  • Signs towed behind a vehicle, watercraft or aircraft
  • Banners or pennants
  • Internally illuminated signs, neon signs or signs which contain a visible light source. Inflatable signs or balloons of any type
  • Political signs in rights-of-way

See Also:

Vendors

Artists, Musicians and Entertainment and sale of Food, Beverage or Merchandise

All vendors must have a Town of Hilton Head Island business license or special event vendor permit to participate at the event.

  • Special event vendor permits are only issued to out of town vendors.
    • All others must obtain a town business license.
    • Business licenses may take up to 10 days to process.
    • All food trucks or mobile food units require a Town business license even if they are from out of town.
  • It is the responsibility of the special event sponsor to ensure that all participating vendors have either a town business license or a special event vendor permit for the event.

Business License Application

Submit your Special Event Vendor List

Stage

A Stage Permit is required for all stages higher than 30" above the ground.

Fee - $50 * Non-profit organizations are exempt from the fee.

Stage Permit Application Checklist

  • Fill out a Miscellaneous Building Permit Application
  • Provide a site plan with legend including tent sizes, stage sizes, port-o-lets, etc.
  • Provide flame retardant certificates
  • Provide all stage specifications

Miscellaneous Building Permit Application

Tent/Canopy

A Tent Permit is required for all tents that meet any of the following criteria:

  • Tents (with sides) larger than 400 square feet and / or
  • Canopies (without sides) larger than 700 square feet

Fee - $50 * Non-profit organizations are exempt from the fee.

Tent Permit Application Checklist

  • Fill out a Miscellaneous Building Permit Application
  • Provide a site plan with legend including tent sizes, stage sizes, port-o-lets, etc.
  • Provide flame retardant certificates
  • Provide all tent specifications
  • Provide all tent(s) layout with legend including tables, chairs, etc.
  • Ensure that tents / canopies abide by Fire Rescue special event guidelines

See Also:

  • Fire Rescue Special Event Guidelines

Miscellaneous Building Permit Application

Wedding on the Beach

Wedding ceremonies performed on the beach require a permit (free of charge) from the Town of Hilton Head Island.

Submit a Wedding Ceremony on the Beach Request


Questions?

Contact the Town's Special Event Coordinator at EileenB@hiltonheadislandsc.gov or 843-341-4639