Special Events - Additional Information

Additional Topics

Any event may require additional permits, approvals or services from other government agencies or County Departments. While it is the event planners responsibility to ensure compliance with all departments and agencies, here is  some addition guidance to consider while planning your event.


Evens which serve or sell alcohol must adhere to all Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board requirements and regulations. Application for a Liquor License should be done 90 days in advance.

Music Festivals

Whatcom County Code 5.40 requires a valid county permit for all events where both music is the primary purpose and the event anticipates attendance of 1,000 or more people. The permit must be obtained through the County Councils Office. RCW 70.108


Any event serving or vending food is required to have a permit from the Whatcom County Health Department.

Fire Marshal

The Whatcom County Fire Marshal provides these safety guidelines for events to follow. While no permit is currently required (except for Music Festivals), these guidelines can be enforced by the Fire Marshal's office at any time. 

Road Closure

Events that use the right of way or require a road closure will need an encroachment permit from Whatcom County Public Works. 


Whatcom County Parks & Recreation requires vendors and organizers to remove all trash.  Washington State law requires vendors and organizers for festivals and special events to provide recycling collection containers for cans and bottles. RCW 70.93.093

Portable Toilets 

Event organizers are responsible for providing portable toilets based on attendance: 
  • 50 people     =    2 toilets
  • 51 to 100      =    3 toilets
  • 101 to 250    =    4 toilets
  • 251 to 500    =    8 toilets
  • 501 to 1000  =   12 toilets
  • 101 to 3000  =   16 toilets

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Requirements

Event organizers are expected to make every effort to follow ADA guidelines, maintaining access for people with disabilities. This may include providing a clear path of travel to and on sidewalks and maintaining designated parking and accessibility to restrooms.

Additional Permits

Whatcom County Parks and Recreation only permits events on Whatcom County Park lands.  If your event crosses onto other agency or private land it is the responsibility of the event organizer to obtain required permits. All permits must be submitted to Whatcom County Parks & Recreation before the final permit is approved.