The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce held an informative Event Permitting in Hinesville workshop on Wednesday, inviting members of the public and local businesses to attend to learn the necessary details on required permits, regulations and other important information when it comes to planning a major event within city limits.
Guest speakers for the event included representatives from the Department of Public Health. Yvette Steele spoke specifically on the requirements surrounding food sales and temporary permits for food sales.
Requirements for organizers include an application due 30 days in advance of the event, and food vendors must apply for a temporary food permit if they lack a yearly license with the DPH. The permit allows for the sale of food made or cooked on site, according to Steele. The day of the event, DPH will go around and inspect all food vendors, and make sure everyone remains in compliance.
“It is the business’s responsibility to verify a vendor’s permit,” Steele said. Food sales that don’t require a permit are pre-packaged foods that are individually wrapped.
From an event planning point of view, LCCOC CEO Leah Poole gave her presentation on the steps and to-do’s of making an event work.
The chamber conducts over a hundred events a year— from Business after Hours, board retreats, annual banquets, ribbon cuttings, the Christmas parade, Backyard BBQ and more.
“Most events require a staff of people, some even require a planning board of additional people,” Poole said. “Some events take place in the same week. Some in the same day. And others are months in advance.”
Establish a goal for the event, Poole suggested, and base the plan around it. “Without a goal, you can’t plan,” she said.
Pick a time, date and location, and plan around important dates—such as football, or previously scheduled events in town, Poole continued. After a date has been picked, make a budget and stick to it, she emphasized.
If the event requires entertainment, book in advance and early on. Poole suggested that a contract be used, that outlines price, time commitment, and other concessions needed.
“It outlines everything expected of everyone,” Poole said. “It’s a good idea overall.”
There will be things not considered, including necessary accommodations for electrical needs, Poole continued. “Make sure you are aware, and understand stage requirements, and space needed for any entertainer.”
Specifically concerning permitting in Hinesville, the city requires an Assembly Permit for an event with 50 or more people. According to Poole, the application should be submitted 30 days prior to the event, but Poole recommends at least 90 days prior. Some events may require the support of the Hinesville Police Department or Hinesville Fire Department.
If alcohol will be served at the event, there’s another permit required for that. Organizers must get a local permit for alcohol, and that permit must receive state approval through an online process that takes at minimum, 30 days to complete.
“Alcohol must be purchased from a distributor like Southern Eagle Distributing,” Poole said. “It’s not allowed to be bought from a store like Walmart or Kroger and resold.”
Remember that an alcohol policy must be on the insurance to protect everyone involved in the event planning, Poole continued.
Other important things to remember are designate one person to deal with all money transactions and dealings, make sure to have contracts if outside funding from vendors are needed, and begin working on the marketing for the event.
“Name the event, because this will be its branded name,” she said. “Incorporate the event into existing advertising, public relations and marketing campaigns, and make a Facebook event.”
Poole suggested creating individual press releases for every production element of the event, including things like announcing sponsors, entertainment, who the proceeds benefit, and food vendors.
On the day of, factor in set-up and tear-down times into the entire time for the event, and make sure to bring spare tools in case of unforeseen circumstances.
“We always bring a bag with fishing line, zip ties, hammer, nails, scissors and other important items in case they are needed,” Poole said.
Overall, there’s an incredible amount of work that goes into planning an event. The power point presentation with all the tips, tricks and guidelines to planning an event can be found on the chamber’s website under the news tab. There will also be another presentation given on the topic at the Mayor’s Small Business Conference in May.
For more information, visit http://libertycounty.org/.