Event Permits

The Town would like to thank Friday Harbor residents, businesses, charitable organizations, and other agencies for planning several events throughout the year.  To help you achieve a safe environment for your event participants and the traveling public, while minimizing impacts to our community, the Town wants to remind Event Coordinators that permits may be required for your activity. 

Special Event Permits

A special event is any organized activity, including a parade, which occurs typically on public property that will affect the ordinary use of parks, public streets, right-of-ways, sidewalks, traffic and/or generates considerable public participation. Generally, a Special Event Permit (PDF) is not required for events that take place on private property unless a special condition exists, such as amplified sound.

These permits allow the Town and your Event Coordinator to adequately coordinate public services needed, mitigate safety and liability concerns, alert the affected neighborhoods and businesses, and recoup costs that may be incurred during the event (towing, garbage, damages).

Public Gatherings on Town Property or Right-of-Way

Individuals, businesses, organizations and agencies wishing to conduct public gatherings on Town property or in the public right-of-way are required to obtain a permit. This includes any event that may impact traffic flow or the public's ability to enjoy public areas such as:
  • Ceremonies
  • Concerts
  • Festivals
  • Park events
  • Parades
  • Performances
  • Races/marathons
  • Street closures
In some cases, while it may not be necessary to obtain a permit, the Town requests that you do so to ensure public safety if you reasonably expect your activities to have an impact or expect to require the provision of public services.

Food & Alcohol Permits

Depending on the nature of the event, various other permits may be required from regulatory agencies besides the Town, such as for sale and consumption of food and/or alcohol. It is up to the Event Coordinator to contact State and County agencies to determine if additional permitting is required.

Temporary Liquor Permits

Temporary liquor permits are required for all events taking place in public places in which beer, wine or alcoholic liquor will be served. Temporary liquor permits are also required for all events taking place on private property in which beer, wine or alcoholic liquor will be sold.

"When planning a special fundraiser, party or civic event for their organization, people often forget about liquor permits," said Town Administrator Wilson. "It can come as an unhappy surprise to learn that a significant component of your special event may be unlawful."


Additional Information

Town staff are available to answer any questions you may have. By planning ahead, our staff can properly assist those that wish to hold community events and other outdoor activities. We hope you have a safe and fun holiday season. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do, to make Friday Harbor a wonderful place to live and visit!