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Vendor Types

Vendors related to a special event fall into two main categories - vendors/suppliers who are servicing the event as contractors and vendors who are participating in the event.

Examples of vendors/suppliers servicing an event may include:

  • Companies renting items to the event such as tents, canopies, portable restrooms, generators, etc.
  • Sound system management
  • Private security
  • Waste management
  • Fireworks technicians
  • Caterer serving food or alcohol (but not selling)

Vendors who are participating in the event are present at the event for commercial activity and/or to share information. Examples of vendors participating in an event for commercial activity may include companies and individuals who:

  • Sell merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, souvenirs
  • Sell handicrafts
  • Sell food and/or beverages
  • Sell services on-site such as massages or face painting
  • Accept orders for merchandise or services
  • Promote services or merchandise to be purchased later
  • Promoting a commercial brand
  • Solicit donations for an organization or cause

Examples of vendors participating in an event for information only include:

  • Non-profit organizations offering literature, demonstrations, or other information free of charge (often called "tabling")
  • Government entities giving information about free government services
  • Political campaigning
  • Soliciting signatures on petitions

Special Event Permit Vendor Fees

A vendor fee is assessed to all vendors participating in the event for commercial activity, unless they are operating on Seattle Parks, Seattle Center, or private property.

Parks and Recreation charge fees for vendors present for commercial activity separately from the Special Event Permit Fee.

Vendor/Suppliers List

Every special event permit application must be accompanied by a complete list of all vendors/suppliers servicing and vendors participating in an event. See ADDENDUM G for instructions and ADDENDUM H for template (in MS Excel).

Business Licenses

All vendors servicing an event and/or participating in an event for commercial activity must hold a City of Seattle Business License.

For events with more than 25 vendors/suppliers, a Tradeshow License can be issued to cover all vendors/suppliers. Business license and/or trade show licenses have additional fees. Contact Finance & Administrative Services at (206) 233-7835 or visit the Licenses webpage.

Sales Tax

The Washington State Department of Revenue publishes the current sales tax rates on its website.


Special Events

Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 5752, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94708, Seattle, WA, 98124-4708
Phone: (206) 684-8017
Fax: (206) 684-7025

The City of Seattle plays a strong role in helping event planners bring people together safely and successfully in both city-wide and neighborhood events.