Departments > Administration > City Clerk > Special Event Permit

Special Event Permits


If you are an organization planning to hold an event on public or private property you may be required to obtain a permit.  The purpose of the permit is to provide, for the protection of persons and property, reasonable supervision of movement within city limits by ways of runs, parades, street dances, celebrations, fairs and festivals.  There are two types of permits, depending on where your event is located within City limits.                                                          

A Special Use Permit is required if your event is being held on private property in a vacant lot, parking lot, or other location not permitted or licensed for such use. The application fee is $120 and there may be additional permits required. Please see Encroachment Permit, Fire Code Permit, and Temporary Sign Permit definitions under Application Materials at the bottom of this page. The Special Use Application/Client Assistance Memo can be found here. Please contact Diane McBane at (253) 853-7605 with any questions.

A Special Event Permit is required for any event held on public property or that will affect City rights-of-way. Organized runs/walks on roads or sidewalks with 20 or more participants must obtain a Special Event Permit. The application fee is $50 for a non-profit sponsored event and $500 for a commercially sponsored event.  There may also be additional permits required.  The Special Events Instruction Guide is an A-Z reference on City requirements and what additional permits may be required. 

The Special Event Application is due at least 60 days prior to the event date.

Note:   When an organization holds one event that spans both private and public property, a Special Event Permit is required. The event will need to meet both sets of criteria for a Special Use and Special Event, but only the Special Event Application must be submitted.                                                                                 

Who may obtain a Special Event Permit?

A Special Event must be sponsored by, or be for the benefit of, a nonprofit organization and be open to the public. The sponsoring nonprofit organization is responsible for submitting the application and obtaining the permit.

A commercially sponsored Special Event is an event not sponsored by a non-profit organization and collects a participant fee by the event organizer, sponsor, or producer.  Commercial events include, but are not limited to, organized camps, organized sports activities, theatre performances, marathons, runs, road races, etc. Commercial events must be open to the public and follow all Special Event rules and guidelines.

The City may deny an application for the following reasons:

    • The time, route, and size will unreasonably disrupt the movement of other traffic contiguous to the route;
    • The size or nature of the event requires the diversion of so great a number of police officers of the city that police protection to the remainder of the city is dangerously diminished;
    • The applicant failed to remit all customary and reasonable fees, insurance documents, bonds, or failed to file in a timely manner 60 days prior to the event;
    • The event exceeds five consecutive days of occurrence.

How much does a Special Event Permit Cost?

The fee for a non-profit event is $50. The fee for a commercially sponsored event is $500.  Fees are due at time of application.

The Special Event application, fees, and all required documents must be filed at least 60 days prior to the event.

Additional Requirements (along with the application and fees and other required permit applications):

    • Route or location to include start and termination
    • Location of assembly areas
    • List of participating vendors, if applicable
    • Copy of liability insurance certificate

What are the Insurance Requirements?

The applicant shall submit proof of liability insurance naming the City of Gig Harbor as an additional insured by endorsement. Coverage shall remain in force throughout the event.  The insurance shall be written on an occurrence form by an insurance company with a minimum A.M. Best rating of A-VII.   The policy shall have primary coverage limits of at least: $1,000,000 Commercial General Liability (per occurrence), $2,000,000 annual aggregate. $1,000,000 Products per occurrence (if food and/or beverage vending is part of the event); $1,000,000 Personal and Advertising lnjury, $50,000 each occurrence; $1,000,000 Fire Legal Liability; and $1,000,000 Damage to premises.  Liquor liability coverage with a minimum of $1,000,000 is required for events where alcohol is served.  Additional permitting may be required where alcohol is served.

Clean-up Commitment

In the event a sponsoring organization fails to adequately provide clean-up in accordance with the plan submitted, the City may conduct the necessary clean-up and bill the sponsoring organization for such costs.  Expenses incurred by City staff in support of your event may also be billed.  The sponsoring organization must make payment to the City upon receipt of the City’s invoice for such costs.

What about Traffic Control?

The Chief of Police may require traffic control or additional on-site security.  If these law enforcement functions cannot be handled by the sponsor, and the use of additional police personnel are required, the permittee shall be responsible for the expense.  This fee will be collected prior to issuance of the permit.  The sponsoring organization may be asked to provide a traffic control diagram if there will be road closures with barricades, detours, etc.

Application Materials

Special Event Application – Required for any event held on public property or that will affect City rights-of-way.                                              

Encroachment Permit Application – Required if event takes place in the right-of-way and/or if signs such as sandwich boards/A-boards, banners or balloon arches/signs will be placed in the public right-of-way (along roads or sidewalks).  Runs, parades, art shows, etc, that will be held in the right-of-way must include a temporary encroachment permit in addition to the Special Event Application. Fee is $30.

Fire Code Permit Application - Required if there will be use of fire pit, barbeque or other heated cooking surface, outdoor heaters, and/or if there will be any air supported temporary membrane structure or tent having an area in excess of 200 sg ft and canopies in excess of 400 sq ft. See the Client Assistance Memo for requirements on tents, canopies and membrane structures.  Fee is $60.

Temporary Sign Permit Application - Required for any banner signs and/or balloon displays/arches.

If you have additional questions, contact Shawna Wise or call (253) 853-7638.