SPECIAL EVENT CATEGORIES


IN THIS SECTION

Athletic Event

Commerical Event

Community Event

Parade

Free Speech Event

Mixed Free Speech Event

Citywide Event


The Special Events Committee assigns each event to an event category. These categories determine the fee and other policies applied to the event during the permitting process.  

The Seattle Municipal Code 15.52.005 defines the categories of special events. Below are the key characteristics of the different type of events.  

Athletic Event  

  • Sport or physical activity including runs/walks, cycling, rowing, swimming, or other type of race, recreational, or competitive contest 
  • Typically requires individual or team registration and/or a type of payment or entry fee (such as registration fee) 
  • Participation is generally not free or open to all members of the public 

Examples: charity runs/walks, competitive races, bicycle rides, rowing competitions, swimming  

Commercial Event  

  • Any private event; or 
  • Controlled or ticketed entry (e.g., tickets, pay-upon-entry, or suggested donation posted at entrance) 
  • Event name features the name of a for-profit or non-profit business or organization 
  • Event is concentrated around a single storefront, building, or is an extension of activity within a store or place of business (such as a grand opening) 

Examples: concert or festival that requires a ticket or paid admission, business grand opening or anniversary celebration, marketing event  

Community Event 

  • Free and open to all members of the public 
  • Provides a public benefit and/or stimulates broad economic or cultural activity within a neighborhood or business district 
  • Organized by neighborhood-based, community-based, ad-hoc groups, or groups that do not have a geographic base 
  • Event has received a government grant (not including sponsorships) to produce the event 

Examples: large block party, free festival or fair, free concert, public holiday celebration  

Parade 

  • A "fixed point parade" (with defined start and end points) held in public right-of-way with vehicles, animals, and/or other participants 
  • Free and open to all members of the public 
  • Provides a public benefit  

Free Speech Event 

  • Solely expressive activity, such as march, rally, demonstration, or other activity 
  • Does not include non-expressive or commercial activity such as commercial food or sales  

Examples: protest march, religious procession, picket  

Mixed Free Speech Event 

  • Expressive activity, such as march, rally, demonstration, or other activity 
  • Includes non-expressive or commercial activity such as commercial food or sales vendors. Non-expressive activity includes recreation, competition/contests, spectator sports, athletic events, circuses/fairs/carnivals, food-related activities, sales/trade shows/business promotions, beach/park clean-ups, and training activities   

Citywide Event 

  • Events specifically designated as such according to Seattle Municipal Code 15.52.005 
    • Fremont Solstice Parade 
    • My Macy's Holiday Parade 
    • Seafair Hydroplane Races and Blue Angels Weekend 
    • Seafair Summer Fourth on Lake Union Seafair
    • Torchlight Parade 
  • Have significant citywide and/or regional impact