Special Events, Tents & Fireworks


Carnival Tent

Special Events & Tents Requiring A Fire Code Permit

General Permit Submittal Information

Special Event Permit Application Specifics

Tent(s) Permit Application Specifics

Fireworks Permit Application Specifics

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Logo

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Events and Tents



The Fire Marshal's Office issues Fire Code Permits for tents, fairs, festivals, fireworks/ special effects, haunted houses, and other special events held at Stanford University and in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. 

Special Events & Tents Requiring A Fire Code Permit Are:

  1. Tents/Canopies: 
    • Tents in excess of 400 sq. ft. with walls and in excess of 700 sq.ft. without walls.
  2. Fireworks & Special Effects.
  3. Special Events: 
    • Examples include-
    • Festivals with Cooking Booths
    • Haunted Houses (and other structures), ghost walks and similar events
    • Fairs, Festivals, and other large Events or Large Gatherings (greater than 500 people indoors or 1,000 people outdoors.

NOTE: The following items common to many special events require a permit from the building department. Contact the building department. at 408-299-5700 for further.

  1. Temporary platforms intended for the use of 10 or more people or any platform more than 30" above the ground requires a building permit.
  2. Site built truss frames and canopies for shade or the support of lighting or speakers require a building permit. Platforms/stages and systems constructed integral and which remain attached to a vehicle licensed by the DMV does not require a building permit.
  3. Site built bleachers, grandstands or other seating structures require a building permit. Prebuilt seating structures stored on-site will be reviewed for code compliant placement through the Fire Marshal’s special event permit.
  4. Temporary lighting or power distribution systems require an electrical permit.
  5. Temporary generators require an electrical permit.
  6. New or altered electrical/mechanical or plumbing systems or equipment.


Special Event Standard

Submit the following with your completed Special Event Permit Application:

  • Site Plan
  • Seating/Table arrangement interior floor plan
  • Indicate the number, type rating and locations of portable fire extinguishers
  • Cooking Booths:  A site plan indicating the cooking booths' dimensions, and distances from other booths, tents and/or canopies, buildings, vehicle parking areas and roadways.
  • Fees are due at time of submittal.


Tent Canopy Standard

Multiple Tents:  A single permit may be issued for more than one tent, however if the tents are in different locations, more than one permit may be required.

Long-Term Permits:  Long-term permits may be issued for a maximum of 180 days within a 12-month period after which the tent must be removed.  If your use requires that the tent remain in place for longer than 180 days, a building permit from the Santa Clara County Building Inspection Office must be obtained.

Submit the following with your completed permit application:

  • A site plan indicating the tent and/or canopy dimensions, and distances from other tents and/or canopies, buildings, vehicle parking areas and roadways shall be provided.
  • AUDITORIUM-STYLE SEATING: Seating arrangement, number of chairs per row, seat spacing, aisle locations and width (if applicable).
  • DINING/DANCING: Number of tables, table sizes, arrangement, spacing, aisle location and width.
  • Exit location(s), width, illuminated exit signs, emergency lighting.
  • Flame certification of tent material.
  • Number, type, rating and location of portable fire extinguishers shall be indicated on the floor plan.  Check CFMO SE-1 Standard regarding Festival Cooking and Vendor Booths for additional requirements.
  • Please mark N/A in fields that are not applicable to your event, rather than leaving them blank.
  • Fees are due at time of submittal. If you need assistance determining your fees call us at (408) 299-5760.


Link to fireworks standards

Submit the following with your completed permit application:

  1. Contractor's State License number and type must be on application.
  2. Submit a minimum of two (2) copies of a dimensional site plan diagramming the area where the display will be held.  The site plan shall include:
    • The placement of devices, including detailed dimensioned layout of racks within the firing site
    • Location of firing site, including security perimeter
    • Locations of nearby buildings and roads
    • Location of any performers
    • Distance to audiences or spectators
    • Fallout area and normal wind direction

NOTE:  Clearly delineate the fallout area dimensions using the worst-case device or effect.

Application timeline

The County ordinance requires that an application be submitted to the SCC Planning Office at least 90 days before your event; applications received less than 90 days prior to event may be accepted on a case by case basis and may require additional expedite fees.  The form must be filled out completely and accompanied by required plans, fees, documents, etc. before we will consider it a complete submittal.

Lead Time: Please allow a minimum of 2 weeks to process your permit application.  We need time to review your submittal and schedule regular and overtime inspections should they apply.

A Note About Large Events

Very large and/or long running events may require application through the planning department; please contact the Santa Clara County Planning Office at (408) 299-5770 to determine if your event requires planning department approval.​

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