County Issues Explanation Of Permitting Process For Summer Concert Series Vendors


As the summer Friday night concert series kicked off last month, the Los Alamos County Community Services Department would like to share information on how the vendor permits are processed and how specific locations for vendors are determined.

“We welcome all vendors at these events,” said Community Services Department Director Cory Styron. “Vendors add an extra element of excitement that livens the crowd.”

Styron explains that vendors must first respond to the annual call for vendor applications  – typically each Spring. Currently there are 21 vendors who applied and paid any applicable fees to vend at some or all of the County’s summer events.

He clarifies that acquiring a permit does not confirm a designated space. His staff makes this determination based on a first-come, first-service basis and on the size, electrical/power requirements, and space constraints after receiving all paperwork and payments.

Not all of the vendors show up to every event, and for planning purposes, the special event permits allow recreation staff to place vendors based on whether they will be selling food or non-food items or only providing not-for-profit promotional or information material. Vendors who have electrical needs are prioritized to be in the parking lot at the southeast corner of Ashley Pond Park where electrical service is available. Some vendor locations in the parking lot require the use of extension cords and some do not. The power is limited to 120-volts and cannot overload the power box. Extension cords must be properly covered to prevent tripping hazards.

In determining where to place vendors, Styron’s staff begins with vendors that purchased permits for multiple events. They look at the order in which the permits were purchased, the power needs and then consider the tent/trailer size setup. Styron emphasizes that staff then reach out to confirm vendors attendance by Wednesday at 11 a.m. before the Friday concert so not to leave open gaps between the activities. Then staff moves to the single event permits and repeats the same process. This planning allows Styron’s staff to prepare a map including all the necessary information to the Los Alamos Fire Department for approval that same Wednesday and sent out to the vendors and the State LP Gas inspector.

“The intent is to get an approved map or plan by Thursday so that we can notify all the vendors planning to attend of their designated locations for the Friday event, but there are a lot of moving parts that need to fit together. Staff continues to coordinate with everyone and we are open to construction suggestions for improvement.” said Styron.  

As the parking lot reaches its capacity, staff moves non-power information vendors down to the grass closer to the Justice Center to make room for more food vendors or vendors with trailers that cannot be placed in the grass. By the same token, as spots open in the main parking lot, vendors will be moved from the grass back to the parking lot on the nights another vendor has provided notice that they will not be in attendance.

According to Styron, vendors will often be placed back in the exact location after missing a concert event to maintain a consistent look and customer familiarity with vendor locations, but his staff can’t guarantee it will always be the case given all the other planning factors and vendor coordination issues listed above.

“Our staff is committed to being as flexible as possible,” said Styron, “but they must also meet all the planning and coordination requirements to provide a quality, fun and safe event.” Styron encourages vendors that have questions or need assistance call the Recreation Office at 505-662-8170 or send an email to