Special Use and Permits

Contact Information

St. Joseph Parks, Recreation & Civic Facilities Department
1920 Grand Avenue
St. Joseph, Missouri 64505


We are proud to support special events that have a positive impact, host our neighbors, families, and visitors, celebrate diversity, and grow our reputation as a sport, health-fitness, and cultural destination. The permitting goal is to promote successful relations and partnerships between commercial and non-profit entities and public users while ensuring the safety of park patrons.

Special Event and Use Application

What is a Special Event?

An event is considered a special event if it includes any of the following:

  • Advertising to the public
  • Amplified sound (i.e. generator operated speakers)
  • Requiring special set up of tents, barricades, fences, stages, or other items
  • Selling of food, alcohol, or merchandise
  • Selling tickets or requiring registration
  • 50+ attendees

All special events are required to have a permit and follow all applicable rules and regulations held by the City of St. Joseph.

Site Amenities for Permittees

The amenities at River Bluff Trails Park are limited.  Permittees are responsible for providing, but not limited to, their own electricity, port-a-pots, barricades, tents, staging, and event staff.  Food, merchandise booths, tents, and stages are limited in location.  Road closures are not permitted; barricades are for use in parking areas only.  Please view this map for guidance. 

Application Deadlines

To be considered, applications must be submitted at least 30 days prior to your event.  Do not advertise your event until your application has been approved.

Applicants for major events (100+ attendees) should submit their application at least 90 days prior to your event.  An on-site pre-event meeting with City staff may be required.

Reservations can be made up to 364 days in advance and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.  For annual events, event planners have up to 30 days following the current year’s event to submit a completed application and pay necessary fees before the date is open to the public.

*Multiple major events will not be allowed on the trail system on the same day at the same time.  The trail system will always remain open to the public.  Submission of an application is not a guarantee of the date, location, or automatic approval of your event.

Special Event Cost & Fees

Special event costs and fees are used to assist in the maintenance and operation of the River Bluff Trails Park.  If a permittee wishes to use a free trail system, please view this map for eligible sections of the urban hike and bike trail throughout the city, and contact the City’s Customer Assistance Specialist for a special events permit.

Special EventSee Chart Below
Non-Profit Special Event (0 - 99)$100
Non-Profit Special Event (100 +)$200

0 - 99$150
100 - 199$250
200 - 299$350
300 - 399$450
400 - 499$550
500 +The greater of $550 of 5% of Permitee's Revenues

Event Insurance

In addition to a Special Events Permit, all events require insurance.  Please contact the Risk Manager for insurance coverage needs. 

All Required Permits Needed

The following items may be required depending on the event.

  • Copy of Certificate of Insurance for the event and all applicable limits
  • Health Department permit if food is being served
  • Business License for the sale of food or merchandise
  • City Building Development Permit for tents and staging
  • Press package or promotional material for the event
  • Emergency Plan (Hazardous weather, fire, etc.)
  • Documentation of non-profit standing
    • A non-profit organization works to serve the public, and it is organized around a cause, mission, or community need.  Non-profit agencies may be registered with the State of Missouri and may provide their state charter number on the application.  Religious organizations or educational institutions not required to register with the state must provide documentation of their tax-exempt status (IRS determination, audited financial statement, or articles of incorporation).
  • Detailed site map and/or route map
    • Please include the following applicable details
      • Boundaries of the activity
      • Electrical locations of generators and electrical connections
      • Emergency access (20 feet clear for a fire truck and public safety access)
      • Equipment (stages, booths, tents, fencing, bike racks, risers, by type and size)
      • Food vendor locations
      • Recycle and trash receptacles
      • Hydrant connection locations
      • Alcoholic beverage service locations
      • Sanitation facilities
      • Portable toilets, concluding accessible provisions
      • Parking, including accessible parking
      • Other
  • Payment of park permit fees at least one week prior to the event for those events with less than 500 in attendance


Permittee will forfeit 25% of special event fees paid to the City for any cancellation within 30 days of the event unless the permittee is unable to host the event due to the natural force of the weather.

Repercussion of Misrepresenting an Event on the Application

Any misrepresentation as to the nature of the event, the number of attendees, contact or payment information, or any other falsification of permit documents will result in the immediate cancellation of the event, forfeit the fees paid, and may also result in denial of future permit request and/or legal action.

Leave No Trace

Respect the trails and the land you are using.  Stay on designed and existing trails; do not create new ones on foot, bike, or vehicle.  Do not cut switchbacks, and always pack out as much as you pack in.  Leaving trash and/or destroying or damaging trails or land will result in the loss of your deposit and potential criminal penalties. 

Event Postings

A permittee shall post a visible sign at all entrances of the park system in use for the event that includes the amount of entry fee, if any, and the rules of access to the event area.  A permittee must post the required sign(s) during the entirety of the time the fee is in effect.  All posted signage must be removed by the permittee at the end of the event.