Clark Park is governed by Philadelphia Parks and Recreation (PPR) , which requires and issues permits for any event in the park. There are, generally, five kinds of permits that park users may be required to obtain:
- Picnic permits
- Special Events permits
- Sporting Events permits
- Weddings and Wedding Photography permits
- Vendor permits
Do I need a permit?
Generally, small gatherings and picnics do not require a permit. But ask yourself the following five questions: if any one of them is answered “yes,” then you will need some kind of permit.
- Do you require a specific location in Clark Park?
- Will more than 50 people be attending your event at any given time?
- Will you be using amplified sound?
- Will you require use of the park’s electricity?
- Will there be any commerce or sales, such as at a flea market or food truck?
If none of these can be answered with “yes,” then you probably don’t need a permit. If #1 is your only “yes” answer, then you will need a Picnic Permit. If any of the other questions can be answered “yes,” then you will require a Special Events Permit instead.
If you need help in sorting out your options, please contact Friends of Clark Park’s Large Events Committee at Events@friendsofclarkpark.org.
PPR designates specific areas of its parks as Picnic Areas, and a permit enables you to reserve that particular area for your picnic. Remember, picnics do not allow amplified sound, or commerce or sales. You can download the Picnic Permit here. Please note the entry for “Picnic Location” on the 4th line down. PPR has not yet determined which areas of Clark Park are its picnic areas. So, the FOCP suggests that you specify one of the following locations:
- The shuffleboard court at 45th and Chestnut
- The Dickens Statue
- (any others?)
If you’re having a cookout in the park, please be careful with your fire. It’s also very important that you not dump your coals on the ground: there’s a fire hazard, and charcoal frequently contains fuel and chemicals which can damage grass and pollute the soil. Please bring a metal pail to carry used coals elsewhere.
Special Events Permits
These are the permits required by the various majors events of Clark Park: the Woodland Avenue Reunion, the Clark Park Music and Arts Festivals, the Spruce Hill May Fair, the Uhuru Flea Markets, and Shakespeare in the Park. With the creation of the new Department of Parks and Recreation in 2011, a new set of permit rules and requirements was developed. Many of the new regulations have been derived from the Fairmount Park Commission’s experience with very large events in very large locations. Clark Park’s events are of a very different kind and scale, and our experiences will continue to inform future revisions of Parks and Rec’s permit process. The Special Events Permit and Guidelines can be downloaded here. If you have any trouble, questions, or concerns, contact our Large Events Committee at Events@friendsofclarkpark.org.
The FOCP has asked for two restrictions on amplified sound events. The first is that Only one event per weekend can have amplified sound. There can still be events on Saturday and on Sunday, but only one can have amplified sound, whether it be music or speech. The second is that No events with amplified sound can be scheduled on consecutive weekends. There can be a maximum of 13 amplified-sound events during the six-month period from May through October, spaced no less than two weeks apart. Amplified sound will be limited to six hours in duration per event. Permit holder will select a six-hour time slot within the window of 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Time slot will be noted on the permit. Note: The Clark Park Music & Arts Festival is an exception to this, and has been grandfathered. Its events will continue to have amplified sound from 11AM-8PM for the June event and 11AM-7PM for the September event.
Placement of Stages
Amplified sound events scheduled in Park “A” (the north section between Baltimore and Chester Avenues) must direct speakers away from Baltimore Avenue residences and toward Chester Avenue. A site map of preferred stage locations and angles is available at the link Large Event Guide Maps.
Films will be given special exception since they must be shown after dark. Films will not be scheduled the same night as another event, but could be scheduled the same weekend.
There is an electric power box in the Middle Park near the shed. Only the Friends of Clark Park have keys to it. At least two weeks before your event, contact Events@friendsofclarkpark.org to arrange for someone to unlock the power box on the day of your event.
Advertising, Posters, and Flyers
Three kiosks are provided in Clark Park for posters to advertise your event. To avoid damage to the plants, posters or flyers may not be posted on trees. If you are interested in placing a large banner, please contact Events@friendsofclarkpark.org to set up an appointment with maintenance volunteers for discussion of banner possibilities.
Vehicles are not allowed in Clark Park. To prevent damage to the paths, grass, and trees, no vehicle may leave the paved walks or remain parked unattended anywhere in the park. With special permission of the Department of Recreation, one vehicle per large event can drive into the park to unload and reload heavy equipment. Please contact Events@friendsofclarkpark.org to get a permit.
Note: There is a parking lot at Kingsessing Mall that can be reserved for weekend events, with proper lead time.
Friends of Clark Park Sponsorship
Please note that there are fees and insurance costs associated with holding a large event in Clark Park, mandated by PPR. It is important to us that these fees do not hamper the presentation of arts an culture to our community. Because of our close working relationship with PPR, the Friends of Clark Park can sponsor events in the Park as the permit holding group. It is at our discretion as to which events we decide to sponsor. A non-refundable sponsorship donation will be required and determined by the size and scope of the event. In order to request the sponsorship of the FOCP, you would need to submit an event outline to us, including all aspects and logistics of your proposed event. These would include: date, time, estimated attendance, entertainment, vendors, insurance requirements, set-up and break-down, electricity needs, event timeline, desired location, etc. You would also need to include a concise proposal as to why this event should be held in Clark Park (as opposed to other options), and how your event benefits our organization, its membership, and the park as a whole. We must always keep in mind the greater public usage of the park and what events are already on the Clark Park Calendar. We also have to consider any safety issues and potential damage that may occur.