Special Events

It is necessary to balance the probable impact of special events with the safety needs of the participants and the rest of the community.

You are required to provide a safe and secure environment for an event. This is accomplished through planning and anticipating potential problems and concerns. To help you prepare:

Special Event Permit Fees

The initial event permit fee is based on the type of the event and the number of people who will attend the event.

Late Fee

You must have your application submitted per the deadline schedule for the event you are planning or a late fee will be assessed.

  • Most applications must be submitted either 10 or 30 calendar days prior to the event date.
  • Temporary assembly occupancy and firework display permit applications must be submitting 30 days prior to the event date.

Applications received less than 3 business days prior to an event may not be processed and no permit will be issued.

Temporary Assembly Occupancy or Outdoor Events

CodePermit TitlePrice
2500FM  Farmer's Market No Fee 
2503*  Indoor, Event attendance of 0 - 999 $265.00 
2503.2*  Outdoor, Event attendance of 500 - 999 or 100 - 999 where enclosures or barricades confine attendees  $265.00 
2505.1*  Indoor or Outdoor, Event attendance of 1,000 - 2,999 $436.00 
2505.2*  Indoor or Outdoor, Event attendance of 3,000 - 9,999 $871.00 
2505.3*  Event attendance of 10,000 - 19,999 $1,244.00 
2505.4*  Event attendance 20,000 and over $2,490.00 

Note: If an outdoor confined space event is attached to/or occurs in conjunction with an indoor space, the cumulative attendance for both spaces is used to determine if a permit is required. 

Events may require additional permits for tents, a firework display, or use of LPG (propane) for cooking and heating.

Open Flame

CodePermit TitlePrice
1102  Open flame/flame effects, Single Event $220.00 
2511  Open flame/flame effects, valid 12 months $579.00 

Note:  There are additional fire and life safety requirements for Fire Performance Art (link to FirePerformanceChanges2017.pdf).

Tent or Air- Supported Structure

CodePermit TitlePrice
3201  Tent or air-supported structure, for use when no assembly permit is required $292.00 
3201CTY  Tent or air-supported structure in combination with City of Seattle Special Events permit $292.00 
3201SFD  Tent or air-supported structure in combination with paid SFD temporary assembly permit No Fee 

 
Fireworks / Special Effect Use / Display 

CodePermit TitlePrice
107SE  Temporary special event permit (ceremonial discharge of low hazard fireworks) No Fee 
7801.1  Fireworks requiring outdoor discharge $1,454.00 
7801.3  Fireworks barge load/unload only (not required for events with a 7801.1 permit) $727.00 
7802  Fireworks approved for discharge before a proximate audience $771.00 

 
Flammable Liquids Storage / Use 

CodePermit TitlePrice
8020  Single Event $292.00 

 
LPG (Propane) and / or Solid Fuel (including Charcoal or Wood) Used for Food Vending and / or Heating 

CodePermit TitlePrice
8206FVH  Annual, valid 12 months $394.00 
8207  Single Event $220.00 

 
LPG Storage / Use 

CodePermit TitlePrice
8206  LPG for flame effects, valid 12 Months $394.00 
8207  LPG for flame effects, Single Event $220.00 
2500LPG  Farmer's Market LPG for portable outdoor heating when issued with a 2500FM permit, annual $394.00 

 
Special Hazards

CodePermit TitlePrice
8208  Single event, including indoor vehicle display, not required for holders of a 2504.5 covered/open mall permit $220.00

Temporary Assembly

When a permit is required:

Operating a carnival, fair or alterations to the existing exiting configuration, character or use of the facility in any manner. When using a liquid or gas fueled vehicle or equipment for display or competition inside an assembly occupancy. Separate permits are required for use of candles or other open flame devices, flammable or combustible liquids or gases, special effects/pyrotechnics (fireworks), cryogenics or any time a material or operations is introduced into an assembly occupancy that could possibly pose a hazard.

Fairs / Carnivals

Fire lanes:  Minimum width of 20 feet must be provided to access all areas of event. Stage placement:  Stages and / or platforms should not be of a size and / or placed in a way that obstructs or blocks fire lanes and exits from any building or fenced areas where the public might be present. 

Concerts, Festivals, Large Fairs 

Merchandise:  

  • Sales locations do not obstruct or block fire lanes or exits
  • Items to be distributed are not able to cause harm to performers or members of the audience
  • Hazardous items may be denied or banned

Stage diving:  Not allowed. It created an unsafe condition for the audience and security staff. 

Special effects and demonstrations:  Any special effect or demonstration using open flame or hazardous material require review and approval. 

Staging:  Props over patrons, stage size, and placement require review and approval.  

We will review and make recommendations on: 

  • Line queuing and line control 
  • Security plan and / or issues
  • House lighting

Barricade:  We will determine the required distance from the stage and any object protruding from the down stage edge. The minimum allowed distance is 7 feet. 

Cooking

A permit is required for cooking activities that utilize LPG (propane) and / or open flame (charcoal, wood, etc.). Permits may be obtained for a single event or annual renewal. 

Permits are not required for:  

  • Electric cooking operations  
  • Using "Sterno" canisters or butane canisters less than 8 ounces in size to heat pre-cooked food 

Fire extinguishers:  Required for all cooking operations even if a permit is not required. The type of fire extinguisher varies with the type of fuel used. Specific fire extinguishers are needed for:

Fuel or Cooking OperationRequired Fire Extinguisher
Charcoal or Wood BBQ  Minimum U.L. Rating of 2A 20BC 
Propane, Butane, or Natural Gas  Minimum U.L. Rating of 2A 40BC 
Deep Fat Frying (Electric, Propane, or Other Means)  U.L. Rated for Class K Additional fire extinguisher required for the source of heat being used. 

Cooking operations that lack the appropriate fire extinguisher will be ordered to cease operation immediately until the required fire extinguisher is obtained. 

Fire extinguishers must be affixed with a tag that indicates they have been serviced within the past 12 months. Exception: New fire extinguishers (purchased within the past 12 months) with receipt showing the date of purchase taped or otherwise attached to the fire extinguisher. 

Open Flame and Candles  

For use of more than one candle a permit is required and the type is subjected to review. Any open flame device other than a candle is subject to review and a permit may be required.  A single candle, that is a pre-approved type, does not require a permit. 

Pyrotechnics (Fireworks) 

Requirements for approval of pyrotechnics include:

  • Operation must be under the direct supervision of a State of Washington licensed pyrotechnician
  • Certificate of Insurance for a minimum of 2 million dollars. The City of Seattle Office of Risk Management must review and approve the certificate. 
  • Product list 
  • Product placement 
  • Outdoor displays may require FAA approval.

Fire Acts and Performances 

Any act which incorporates the use of fire must be reviewed and approved. Requirements can vary based on the amount and method in which fire is utilized. 

Note: Fire breathing is not allowed.

Portable Heaters

Heaters using flammable / combustible liquids (e.g. diesel) as a fuel source are allowed with restrictions and require a permit.  Heaters that operate with the propane fuel source located outside the assembly occupancy and the heated air is pumped into the assembly area (e.g. salamander heaters) are allowed but require a permit. The propane generally must be a minimum of 10 feet from the assembly occupancy. Mushroom type propane heaters (e.g. upright heaters with self-contained propane fuel source) and any other heaters designed with the propane source located inside the assembly occupancy are prohibited.

Display of Liquid or Gas - Fueled Vehicles

Using a liquid or gas-fueled vehicle or equipment in an assembly occupancy for display is allowed under the conditions:

  • Maximum fuel allowed 1 / 4 of a tank or 5 gallons whichever is less.
  • All gas covers taped or have a locking gas cap.
  • Battery cables disconnected or taped. 
  • Vehicles with no fuel gauge or a broken fuel gauge will not be allowed on the event floor or to be displayed without prior approval. 

We must review and approve the use of liquid or gas - fueled vehicles or equipment for working demonstrations or competition in an assembly. Requirements can vary based on the nature of the competition or demonstration, number of spectators, etc. Due to the varying requirements, contact us at (206) 386-1450 and request the Special Events Unit.

Questions about Special Events

Types of Events

  • Carnival
  • Fair 
  • Festival 
  • Venue does not have a valid assembly occupancy permit

If the venue has a valid assembly occupancy permit you will need a temporary assembly occupancy permit when:

  • Change of use or type
  • Change in type of activity 
  • Increase in occupancy load 
  • Change in exits 
  • Introduction of an additional hazard (e.g. candles, display of vehicles, performance that include pyrotechnics or fire)

Permit applications are available: 

Online or in person. You can also contact us by phone (206) 386-1450 and request an application by mail, fax, or email.

A permit is required for a tent, canopy, or air-supported structure more than 400 square feet.   

Note:  A tent / canopy open on all sides (roof only) does not require a permit if it meets all the following conditions: 

  1. Individual maximum size of 700 square feet
  2. Total area of multiple tents placed side by side less than 12 feet apart is 700 square feet or less
  3. Minimum 12 feet clearance between the tent and any structure

If you want a tent, canopy, or air-supported structure more than 100 square feet inside a building it will need approval by us. The building must be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. 

Only electric heaters are allowed inside the tent. All other heaters require a permit and must be on the exterior of the tent.  Propane heaters must be a minimum 10 feet away from the tent and exits.

Your permit is contingent upon meeting the conditions attached to it. The floor plans attached to the permit constitute a portion of the permit conditions. Any variation from them invalidates the permit. Changes will be considered prior to the event you are planning. The requested changes may or may not be approved. If you need to make changes call (206) 386-1450 and ask to speak to a representative in Special Events.

A special events inspector is required to approve your event. If this is the first time you have applied for a permit and an inspector is available, we will try to accommodate you as best we can. This is not a guarantee that your event will be approved. If an inspector is available to look at the plans and / or the site for the event, all Seattle Fire Code requirements must still be met before the permit can be approved. 

Important:  Permit applications received less than 10 calendar days prior to the event for which they are being used, or 30 days for more complex permit types, will be assessed an additional late penalty of 50% of the original permit fee. Applications received 3 business days or less prior to the event may not be processed and the permit may not be issued.

All curtains, draperies, hangings and other decorative materials suspended from walls or ceilings are required by the Seattle Fire Code to be flame retardant. A flame certificate indicating the product or item meets NFPA 701 or California State Fire Marshal requirements must be available on - site for verification. A flame certificate should be available from the manufacturer upon request.

When a product is not flame retardant or there is no flame certificate available, it must be treated by a third party to render it flame retardant. They should then provide a flame certificate indicating the product or item meets NFPA 701 or California State Fire Marshal requirements for flame retardancy.

Yes. A liquid or gas-fueled vehicle or equipment can be displayed in an assembly occupancy under the following conditions:

  • Maximum fuel: 1/4 of a tank or 5 gallons whichever is less 
  • All gas covers taped or have a locking type gas cap 
  • Battery cables disconnected and taped 

Vehicles with no fuel gauge or with broken fuel gauge are not allowed on the event floor and cannot be displayed, without prior approval from us.

There are additional fire and life safety requirements for Fire Performance Art.

No. Igniting and/or releasing sky lanterns is not allowed.

If the event is open to the public or if a fee is charged for entry, then a permit is required.

A temporary place of assembly permit will not be required if the tent has one or more walls, exceeds 400 square feet in area, and you expect less than 100 people at the event. In this case, you only need to apply for the tent permit.   

If there will be 100 or more people at the event and the tent has one or more walls and exceeds 400 square feet in area, then both permits are required.  In this case, there will only be a fee collected for the temporary place of assembly permit and not the tent permit. 

A temporary place of assembly permit will not be required if the tent has no walls, exceeds 700 square feet in area, and you expect less than 500 people at the event.

In this case, you only need to apply for the tent permit. If there will be 500 or more people at the event and the tent has no walls but exceeds 400 square feet in area, then both permits are required.  In this case, there will only be a fee collected for the temporary place of assembly permit and not the tent permit.