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How to get a one-time carnival license

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You need a license to host an event with carnival games or amusement rides. There are two ways to get a license.

Step
1

Before you get started in person

You'll need to apply for a one-time carnival license if your event will have:

  • inflatables (for example, a moon bounce)
  • carnival games
  • amusement rides
  • pony rides, or
  • a petting zoo.
Step
2

Get your application together

Print out and complete the one-time carnival license application. You need to get your application signed by the Boston police captain from the district where you’re holding the event

If you have inflatables or amusement rides, you will need to submit the following:

  • a Certificate of Liability Insurance
  • a License to Operate Amusement Devices from the state's Department of Public Safety and Inspections, and
  • a copy of the licensed mechanic identification card who will set up your inflatable or amusement rides.

If you have pony rides or petting zoos, you will need the following:

  • approval in writing from Animal Care and Control
  • copies of the vaccinations for the animals, and
  • a Certificate of Liability Insurance.

To get an idea of what it costs to apply, you can view a list of common fees. We take certified checks, money orders, or credit or debit cards.

You may request to have the one-time entertainment license fee waived if you are a certified tax-exempt, nonprofit. You'll need to fill out this waiver form and give us proof. The waiver request must be submitted to the Licensing Division at least seven days before the event date for review.

Step
3

Give us your application

Bring your completed application, documents, and payment to:

Consumer Affairs and Licensing
1 City Hall Square, Room 817
Boston, MA 02201

icon-time
Office Hours
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Step
1

Before you get started by mail

You'll need to apply for a one-time carnival license if your event will have:

  • inflatables (for example, a moon bounce)
  • carnival games
  • amusement rides
  • pony rides, or
  • a petting zoo.
Step
2

Get your application together

Print out and complete the one-time carnival license application. You need to get your application signed by the Boston police captain from the district where you’re holding the event

If you have inflatables or amusement rides, you will need to submit the following:

  • a Certificate of Liability Insurance
  • a License to Operate Amusement Devices from the state's Department of Public Safety and Inspections, and
  • a copy of the licensed mechanic identification card who will set up your inflatable or amusement rides.

If you have pony rides or petting zoos, you will need the following:

  • approval in writing from Animal Care and Control
  • copies of the vaccinations for the animals, and
  • a Certificate of Liability Insurance.

To get an idea of what it costs to apply, you can view a list of common fees. We take certified checks, money orders, or credit or debit cards.

You may request to have the one-time entertainment license fee waived if you are a certified tax-exempt, nonprofit. You'll need to fill out this waiver form and give us proof. The waiver request must be submitted to the Licensing Division at least seven days before the event date for review.

Step
3

Mail us your application

Mail your completed application, documents, and payment to:

Consumer Affairs and Licensing
1 City Hall Square, Room 817
Boston, MA 02201

License info

  • You must submit applications with the district police captain's signoff at least two weeks before the date of the event.
  • Inflatables and amusement rides must be licensed by the state Department of Public Safety and Inspections.
  • You can pick up and pay for your license Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Need to cancel your event?

If you need to cancel your event, let us know before the date of the event by emailing MOCAL@boston.gov. We will still charge you a fee if you don’t let us know in time.

Contact:
Entertainment Licensing
1 City Hall Square, Room 809
Boston, MA 02201

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