Tourism Events Grant Funding

The 2023 Tourism Grant Funding Application Window is now Closed 

The City’s Tourism Program awards funds to special events, festivals and programs that demonstrate the ability to attract visitors from over 50 miles away and generate overnight stays. The primary goal of the Tourism Program is to support events and activities that showcase the City’s best assets while fostering a love of Kirkland that inspires our guests to come back time and time again. The deadline to receive applications for the 2023 Tourism Grant Funding Program was Monday, August 8th, 2022, 5 p.m. For questions regarding your application and/or the funding process, please contact the Tourism Program at

The Tourism Development Committee (TDC) has established the following schedule for the 2023 grants process.   

2023 Tourism Event Funding Grant Application Process Schedule

  • June 20, 2022: 2023 Tourism Event Funding Grant Application process opens.
  • August 8, 2022: Tourism Funding Applications due by 5 p.m.
  • August 22, 2022: SPECIAL MEETING OF THE TDC to hear short presentations from applicants (9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m) virtual via Zoom - Agenda(PDF, 165KB)
  • September 1, 2022: SPECIAL MEETING OF THE TDC for ranking and final funding recommendations (8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) - virtual via Zoom.
  • December 2022: City Council adopts budget and approves funding.
  • January 2023: Municipal Service Agreements emailed to approved events/programs for signatures.
  • February 2023: Municipal Service Agreement due back to City of Kirkland.
  • February – December 15, 2023: Submit Tourism Funding Reimbursement Form (with copies of receipts and invoices) and Tourism Funding Expenditure Worksheet for reimbursement (after completion of the event).

Note: To better assist you with the Tourism Funding process, please watch the following video:


Tourism Funding Information

The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 67.28.180 provides authority for cities to adopt a lodging tax. The City of Kirkland has adopted a 1 percent lodging tax rate and may invest these revenues into events or programs that attract visitors to Kirkland.

Kirkland’s Tourism Program has been in operation since 2002. During that time, over $700,000 has been granted to tourism events and programs. The Kirkland Tourism Development Committee (TDC) has proposed to make up to $60,000 available for 2023. These funds will be awarded for the marketing or operations of special events and festivals designed to attract tourists to Kirkland. The TDC will look supportively at new events, events that promote diversity and inclusivity, and events that embrace a post COVID-19 “welcome back” theme, while also giving serious consideration to events with proven track records for bringing visitors to the City. 

The goal of Tourism funding is to attract visitors from 50 miles away or more. Overnight stays not only improve the tourist environment of Kirkland; their revenues sustain the tourism program budget.

Tourism Grant Recipient Requirements

Washington State Reporting Requirements: In 2013, the Washington Legislature added a provision to the Lodging Tax Statute (RCW 67.28.1816(2)(a)) which requires: Applicants applying for use of revenues in this chapter must provide estimates of how any moneys received will result in increases in the number of people traveling for business or pleasure on a trip.

At the end of the award period, the legislation requires organizations to report on their success in attracting those visitors. All funds are awarded on a reimbursement basis and will not be awarded until the Tourism Funding Expenditure Report Worksheet and the Tourism Funding Reimbursement Form are submitted.

Criteria: In addition to State requirements, the TDC has identified the following criteria that will be used in evaluating and ranking the applicants:

Tourist Attraction and Marketing—50 points
The extent the event/program demonstrates the ability to attract visitors from 50 miles or more away and generate overnight stays.

Project Scope—20 points
The extent the event/program improves the City's overall image by providing a positive visitor experience and/or promoting the area's existing attractions including the Kirkland waterfront, Totem Lake, the Cross Kirkland Corridor and other compelling areas of Kirkland.

Economic Impact—10 points
The extent the event/program will generate a positive economic impact by supporting small Kirkland-based businesses and increasing visitor expenditures in Kirkland

Project Success and Sustainability—10 points
The extent the applicant has a track record of implementing a successful event/program including contract and permit compliance. The ability of the event to secure additional funding sources beyond City of Kirkland tourism funding.

Community Collaboration—10 points
The extent the applicant partners and collaborates with other Kirkland events and organizations and especially forms culturally diverse partnerships, in leveraging resources and marketing efforts.

Bonus Points:

New Event—15 points
New event/programs that have been in existence for less than three years qualify for up to 15 bonus points.

Shoulder Season Impact—10 points
Events that take place in the shoulder season (October–April) qualify for up to 10 bonus points.

Safe, Inclusive, and Welcoming Events—10 points
Events that have a stated purpose that reinforces the City’s commitment to being a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for all people, with particular focus on increasing awareness of and/or celebrating cultural, ethnic, and/or racial diversity, qualify for up to 10 bonus points.

Multiday Competitive Tournaments (athletic and otherwise)—10 points
Events that offer multiple days (two or more) of competitive activities, whether athletic tournaments or competitive gaming events, qualify for up to 10 bonus points. 

Non-Reimbursable Expenses: Awarded funds may not be used to reimburse anything other than marketing and operations of programs and festivals designed to attract tourists. Non-reimbursable expenses include but are not limited to: alcohol, pre-paid Visa cards, staff gifts, parking tickets, traffic citations, rental cars, and off-duty police contracts.

City of Kirkland Special Event Permits: All applicants must contact the Special Event Permitting Office prior to submitting this application to understand the requirements necessary for the production of their event. Please contact Sudie Elkayssi, Special Event Special Projects Coordinator at or call (425) 587-3347 to determine permit needs and requirements. If an event is awarded tourism funding but is unable to receive special event permitting approval, awarded tourism funding will be subject to reallocation by the Tourism Development Committee for the current or a future funding cycle.

City of Kirkland Business License: Organizations holding events in Kirkland are required to obtain a City of Kirkland business license. Business license information can be found on the City’s website under Business Licenses or by calling (425) 587-3140. Proof of a City of Kirkland business license is due 30 days prior to your event.

Federal Taxpayer Information: Awarded applicants will be required to provide to the City their W9 showing a valid tax identification number (EIN) and must have a tax filing status that allows for receiving of grant funding.

Publicity/Promotion Policy: Prominent display of the Explore Kirkland logo (and link to where applicable) is required of tourism funding recipients in all publicity materials including, but not limited to, electronic promotion (website, social media), brochures, press releases, programs, posters, public service announcements, flyers, newsletters, and advertisements. The Explore Kirkland logo will be provided at the same time as the Municipal Services Agreement. Events will be required to submit promotional material and/or electronic screenshots with displayed Explore Kirkland logo with reimbursement forms.

Event Photos: In order to assist with tourism event promotion we ask festival and event coordinators to submit five to eight high resolution (300 dpi) photos. If your event is new and you don’t have photos, please provide any promotional graphics and/or event logos you’d like used for promotion. We may include these photos/images/logos in tourism promotion collateral, web and social media promotions, and publicity outreach. Please submit these photos/images/logos no later than February 28, 2023.

Questions: For questions or additional information, please contact Tourism Program staff at: