Special Event Permits

General Information
Planning an event on Wrightsville Beach? Planned outdoor group activities, such as weddings, sporting events, meetings, organized entertainment or celebrations on Wrightsville Beach public property require a Special Event Permit.

Special Event Permit Applications

If you are planning a wedding on Wrightsville Beach, you may submit your application online for weddings and other gatherings planned for beach accesses 2, 4, 16, 36, and 43.  Click here to read further about the process and to submit your request.

Click here  to download the special event permit application for all other events and activities.

Permit Application Fee

The application fee is based on the number of participants, as well as spectators, expected at the event. The application fee, and security deposit if applicable, must be submitted with your application. Events requiring a complete road closure must pay a fee of $0.50 per registered participant. The road closure fee must be submitted with a statement attesting to the number of registered participants. Payment is due within fourteen (14) days of the event.

Number of Participants Fee                  Security Deposit
1 - 25 $130 N/A
26 - 100 $180 N/A
101 - 199 $250 N/A
200 - 400 $400 $200
401 - 600 $500 $500
601 - 1,000 $600 $1,000
1,001 - 2,000 $700 $1,500
2,001 - 3,000 $800 $2,000
3,001 - 4,000 $900 $2,000
4,001+ $1,500 $2,000

Town Rules and Policies Governing Special Events and
Special Event Permit Application Instructions

Special events requiring Board of Aldermen approval must be submitted no less than 60 days in advance of the event.  Events causing significant impact to the Town, including road closures and traffic concerns, will be placed on the Board of Aldermen’s Regular Agenda for review and discussion prior to approval or denial of the Special Event Permit Application.  All other special event permit applications requiring Board of Aldermen approval will appear on the Board’s Consent Agenda but may be pulled for review and discussion as determined by the Board.

Special Event Permit Applications for any new events including runs, walks, surf or paddleboard contests, etc. will not be accepted for new events occurring between April 1 and September 30.  Only recurring events that originated prior to February, 2015 may reapply each year for a special event permit.  This does not apply to weddings and other ceremonial activities or Easter Egg Hunts, which may occur in March or April as the date coincides with Easter Sunday determined by the March equinox.

Events occurring multiple days must submit a separate and complete application for each day of the event.

Town ordinance prohibits fires or cooking of any kind on the beach strand.  No open flames are allowed on the beach strand including fireworks, tiki torches, and sky lanterns.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages on the beach strand or any public property is prohibited.

All requests for Special Event Permits for surfing competitions must be presented to the Board of Aldermen for approval.  All participants in surfing events are required to wear ankle straps (leashes) in accordance with the Town of Wrightsville Beach Code of Ordinances.

Organizers of runs and other race events are responsible for providing traffic and/or crowd control which shall be handled by the Wrightsville Beach Police Department (or New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department).  Events that include waterborne activities must provide adequate water safety resources to assure the safety of participants.  Depending on the nature of the event, the Special Events Coordinator, the Town Manager, or the Board of Aldermen may require police assistance with traffic/crowd control, additional Ocean Rescue supportand/or Emergency Medical Services support.  Additional fees for these services may be incurred.

Obstruction of any public beach right-of-way, parking areas or public streets is prohibited.
  You may contact Pivot Parking (256-5453) to purchase parking permits prior to the event.  In Wrightsville Beach Park, Bob Sawyer Drive serves as the fire lane for emergency vehicles.  No structures or equipment are allowed on this roadway nor are any vehicles allowed to park or stand on this street.  Violators may be fined and/or towed.

No balloons may be used as part of any decorations placed on public property.  All decorations (flowers, streamers, etc.) must be removed from the site immediately following the event.

For information concerning marriage licenses, call the New Hanover County Registrar of Deeds Office 910-798-7712.

Special Event Permit Application Instructions

Complete Application in its Entirety

Description of the Event:  Indicate the name of the event and a brief description.

Event Date/Time: Total time required should reflect the time needed including set-up, clean-up, and the actual event. Event start/finish time should reflect the start/finish time of the event applied for (i.e. actual start/finish time of the wedding ceremony or race ). Events occurring outside of the 8:00 a.m.—10:00 p.m. timeframe require Board of Aldermen approval.  If no rain date is included on the original permit request, the make up date, if any, must be approved by the Special Events Coordinator, Town Manager, or Board of Aldermen.

Estimated number of participants: The permit application fee is based on the number of participants.  The number of participants should include, event organizers, spectators, and volunteers anticipated at the event. The special event permit application fee, as listed on page one of the application, and any other fees associated with the event such as park facility reservation fees, must be submitted with your application.

Location: Indicate the desired location for the event.

Individual making the request: Individual completing the application and point of contact regarding the application.

Individual who will be on site and in charge of activity: Point of contact during the event.

Sponsoring Organization/Corporation (if applicable): Identify the non-profit organization or corporation, if applicable, that is associated with the event.

Briefly describe provisions for the following:
Toilet Facilities:
  Event organizers must provide adequate toilet facilities to accommodate the number of participants considering the timeframe of the event, location of public facilities, and recommended industry standards.  For events in the park with expected attendance of 200 people or more, portable toilets must be provided by the Event Director.  Portable toilets may not be set up more than 48 hours prior to the activity, and must be removed within 48 hours afterwards.  Toilet facilities must be secured according to Town Ordinance §151.007. Location of portable toilets must be coordinated with the Town’s Special Event Coordinator.

Trash Disposal: Event Organizer is responsible for removal of any trash or litter produced in any areas used.  Trash disposal service may be obtained through Wall Recycling, LLD or other service of choice.  All cardboard, plastic, and aluminum litter must be recycled; use of styrofoam and glass products for serving refreshments is prohibited.  Litter is subject to a $250 fine.

Parking: Event Organizer must consider the number of participants and available parking when determining the event location.  Shuttle or change of venue may be required if the location cannot adequately accommodate the number of participants.

Electrical power and/or water needs: Event Organizer must provide for their own electrical power and water needs.  If event is occurring in Wrightsville Beach Park, the Organizer may use available power and water sources.

Will food be served? Event Organizer is responsible for securing any permits required by the Health Department, if applicable.

Will there be music, PA system, or loud activities (if any, briefly describe)? Any amplified music or PA system within Wrightsville Beach Park must be set up by the shelters unless otherwise approved by the Board of Aldermen or Special Event Coordinator. Any amplified music or PA system on the beach strand must be directed toward the ocean and away from any residences.  Music may not occur between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am unless otherwise approved by the Board of Aldermen.  The volume of the music must fall within limits set by Town ordinance.  This ordinance will be enforced by Town of Wrightsville Beach Police and/or other Town personnel.

Will any banners, tents, stages, chairs, nets, decorations, etc., be used at this activity? Describe in detail and provide a sketched plan.:  A sketched plan of the proposed activity must be submitted with the permit application and must identify location, temporary structures to be used during the event, any existing permanent structures, the proposed route, etc.   Temporary structures may not be set up more than 12 hours prior to the activity and must be removed within 12 hours afterwards.  Per North Carolina Fire Prevention Code, tents greater than 200 square feet and open canopies greater than 700 square feet on public property require a permit from the New Hanover County Fire Marshal.  And, multiple tents must be placed at least 12 feet apart.  Events requiring equipment that must be driven onto the beach strand will require a permit to allow a vehicle on the beach.  This should be requested during the application process.  The Special Event Coordinator will secure the necessary permits from the police department if the special event permit application is approved.

Will there be sales of any types of souvenirs, t-shirts, food, drinks, or other products on public property? Describe in detail proposed plans for selling items during the event.  List items, vendors, etc.  Merchandise sales or donation solicitations by a person or group for the purpose of raising money for a charity or non-profit group may only be conducted on public property with an approved special event permit.  Information concerning non-profit vending activities must be included in the special event permit application. “For profit” vendors must be disclosed in the special event permit application and must be approved by the Board of Aldermen. Event is limited to no more than five “for profit” vendors who must be sponsoring agencies of the non-profit organization holding the special event.
Is police assistance necessary? Are you requesting the closing of any streets?  Street closures require police assistance that must be contracted through the Town of Wrightsville Beach for an additional fee.  If Town police are unavailable to assist, applicant may contact the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department for assistance.   Closure of NC Department of Transportation roadways will require that applicant receive permission from the NCDOT (NCDOT Special Event Request Form).  Events requiring a complete road closure must pay an additional  fee of $0.50 per registered participant.  Amount must be submitted with a statement attesting to the number of participants within (14) days of the event.