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The Special Event Application Process

Before you get started on filling out your application, you may want to check the Stay Informed page to find out what events are happening on what dates.

How much does it cost to apply for a special event permit?
The application processing fee depends upon estimated attendance and whether you are a for-profit or a non-profit entity. However, there may be other costs associated with your event. These costs may include, but are not limited to, police services, sanitation services, additional permits such as barricade and street occupancy. See Fee Schedules to determine your processing fee.

Is my application approved as soon as I pay the fee?
You may pay the fee at any time during the review process, but in any case, your permit will not be issued until the fee is paid. Your application will be approved following all reviews and approvals or passes from external and internal departments, and upon receipt of your certificate of insurance naming the City of Tacoma as additional insured.

Do I have to pay the application fee and provide the certificate of insurance when I turn in my application?
No. The certificate of insurance is required at least 30 days prior to the event. The application fee can be paid any time prior to the event, although the permit will not be issued until the fee is paid.

How long does it take to approve my application?
Varies depending on the size and complexity of the event.

What types of events require a permit?
A special event is any organized formation, parade, procession or assembly consisting of 50 or more persons and which include animals, vehicles, or a combination of those things who wish to assemble or travel in unison on any street that does not comply with normal or usual traffic regulation or controls, or on a public beach, or in a public park or plaza which is gathered for a common purpose under the direction and control of a person or organization.

Examples of special events: Concerts, parades, circuses, fairs, festivals, block parties, community events, fund-raising events, private parties, promotional events, marathons and running events, bicycle races or tours, constitutionally protected activities.

How long before my event do I need to turn in my application?
Optimal time for processing the application is at least 60 days prior, but no more than 2 years prior to the event date. Exception is an expressive activity, which allows a person or organization to file a permit application not less than 7 calendar days prior to the event date.

What's the maximum number of people I can have at my event?
No maximum number of event attendees is indicated in the code.

What is the minimum number of people that triggers the need for an event permit?
50 attendees or more triggers need for event permit

Do I need a business license to hold an event?
You do not need a business license if you are not conducting business. If you or your vendors are conducting business, you should contact the City's Tax & License department at (253) 591-5252 for more information and direction.