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Special Events

If you are holding a publicly attended event in whole or part on public property you need a permit. 

The City of Kirkland issues the following types of event permits:
• Special Event (festival, run, walk, etc.)
• Park Use (activities contained within a park)
• Community Program (on-going activities such as a farmers market or performing arts series)
• Block Party (Neighborhood gatherings)

See the Resource Center for more information.

First Step
Anyone interested in hosting an event should contact the Special Projects Coordinator at or call 425-587-3347 to discuss the event and request an Interest Form; the first step towards putting an event proposal together.

Events are the cornerstone for community celebrations and gatherings. However, producing an event requires a lot of planning. Please refer to the Special Event Guide for a general overview of City regulations and requirements.

Answers to common questions:

What is a special event?

A special event includes any activity that occurs on private or public property and affects the ordinary use of public streets, rights-of-ways, and/or sidewalks. For practical purposes, this includes, but is not limited to parades, fun runs, cycling, art fairs, and festivals.

Why do I need to apply for a permit for my event?
To assure that an activity meets legal requirements of the use of public right-of-ways. To enable the City to ensure adequate services such as public safety, traffic control and sanitation are scheduled. To alert the City to any unusual event which should be known to the providers of emergency services.

How do I obtain a permit for my event?
Contact the Special Projects Coordinator or call 425-587-3347 to discuss the event and request an Event Interest Form. The permit application process officially begins once an Event Interest Form is submitted and the date and venue are confirmed. Event Interest Forms are accepted up to one year in advance as event dates are limited and reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the date and venue are confirmed, you will receive a permit application, event guide, and acceptance letter which outlines the application timeline, deadlines, and meeting dates. 

What is free speech activity?
This protected class of activities includes conduct for the sole purpose of which is to communicate political or religious ideas. No fee or donation may be charged or required as a condition of participation in or attendance at such activity. Expressive activity does not include fairs, festivals, concerts, performances, parades, athletic events, fundraising events, or events for entertainment.

Do I need a Special Event Permit for free speech activities?
Activities which are publicly attended and held in whole or in part upon publicly owned property or public rights-of-way, or if held wholly upon private property, will nevertheless affect or impact the ordinary and normal use by the general public of public property or public rights-of-way within the vicinity of such activity requires a Special Event Permit. For impromptu Expressive Events (i.e. free speech events such as candlelight vigils) intended to be held on public property on an evening or weekend and for which advance coordination with the City for permitting is not feasible, we ask that the event organizer notify the City by contacting the Kirkland Police Department non-emergency number at 425-577-5656.

How much will a permit cost overall?
This depends on the scope of the event. All events are required to pay a non-refundable application fee. Additional fees required to provide services necessary for public health, safety and welfare may be identified through the review process. For example, additional fees may be required to provide traffic control and sanitation. Refer to the Special Event Guide for a list of common event related fees.

When do I pay the fees?
All fees are to be paid prior to issuance of the permit unless otherwise provided in the conditions of approval.

Do I need insurance?
Yes, all events must provide proof of commercial general liability insurance for the duration of the event along with an endorsement naming the City as an additional insured on the policy. 

What else should I consider when I apply for a permit?
Depending on the scope of your proposal, you may be required to make arrangements for notification to affected businesses and residences, sanitation facilities, traffic control equipment, electrical inspections, King County health department inspections, first aid stations, etc. City staff will assist you in identifying these needs. However, the applicant has sole responsibility for obtaining required permits and complying with the City's Special Events Ordinance. Refer to the Special Event Guide for a general overview of City regulations and requirements.

What are the reasons for denying event permits?
Permits for events protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments are subject to reasonable exercise of public control or limitation in the interest of public health, safety, morality and welfare.

For all other permits, applications will be denied if the proposed activity disrupts traffic beyond practical solution; interferes with access to fire stations and fire hydrants; causes undue hardship to surrounding residences or businesses; requires the diversion of so many public employees that service is denied the public at large; endangers the public health, safety or welfare; the applicant fails to provide complete and accurate information or comply with the terms of the permit; is unlawful, or fails to comply with applicable legal requirements.

What can I do if I feel my permit has been unfairly denied?
You may appeal in writing (including email) within seven (7) business days of notification of denial.

Parks Department Hours:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday
123 5th Ave  Kirkland, WA 98033

General Inquiries
T. 425.587.3300 | F. 425.587.3303
Report an Issue
After Hours Parks Maintenance Needs
T. 425.864.3431