Special Events

The City as well as various community organizations sponsor a variety community-wide events each year.  

Special Event Organizers are responsible to:

Vendors seeking to engage in business, as defined by Ordinance 2018-35, at special events are responsible to:

  • Work closely with event organizers to ensure rules for business licensing are followed; and
  • Understand continuous business on the island is subject to standard business licensing requirements.


Business Licensing for Special Events

Vendors at special events typically, though not necessarily, fall under:

Event Organizers should consider the following when determining how best to ensure their vendors are in compliance with City business licensing requirements:

  • Event organizers, if a for-profit or non-profit entity holding a UBI, must be licensed by the City.
  • Event organizers can require vendors as Temporary Stationary Businesses to obtain a for-fee or "Fee-Exempt" City business license. Please be aware, the application must follow the standard approval processes which could take up to four or more weeks.  Municipal Code states a business license must be in place before engaging in business.
  • Vendors physically located on Bainbridge Island do not typically qualify as a Temporary Stationary Business. However, island-based vendors may qualify for the Minimum Threshold Exemption if their gross yearly income on the island is $3,000 or less per year.
  • The City will allow event organizers to eliminate the requirement of a City business license for vendors if (a) the event only happens once a year (though the once-a-year event may last multiple, consecutive days); (b) event organizers obtain a Special Event Permit, and (c) event organizers require vendors to show proof of a Unique Business Identifier (UBI) demonstrating the vendor holds a business license with the State. Vendors must understand continuing to engage in business business on the island prior to or past event date(s) requires a valid City business license in good standing.

How to Apply for a "Fee Exempt" Business License

To apply for a license as a Temporary Stationary Business or under the Minimum Threshold Exemption, apply for a City of Bainbridge "endorsement" through the Washington State Business Licensing Service

  • If the vendor is not physically located on the island and if the vendor's annual gross revenue on the island is $3,000 or less, the off-island vendor may apply for a receive a fee-exemption at time of application.
  • If the vendor is physically located on the island, the vendor will complete the online application and pay for the City business license. The vendor should then contact the City to request consideration for a classification a Minimum Threshold Exemption. The application will be reviewed by the City to ensure it meets requirements. If the fee exemption is granted, the City will refund the $71 business license fee and change the license type to a fee-exempt license
Please Note: The City will attempt to reach a business owner or responsible person twice to discuss fee-exemption qualifications. If no response is received, the application will be automatically denied for failure to provide required information.

If the exemption is approved, the vendor does not pay the $71 annual business license fee but retains a City business license. Also, the fee-exempt license is renewable each year. However, the fee-exemption is not guaranteed in perpetuity. City auditing through the Washington State Department of Revenue and self-reporting through the City's Business & Occupation Tax return will determine the continued eligibility of the fee-exempt status. (Note: If the vendor fails to file an annual B&O Tax Return, the fee-exemption on the business license will be automatically revoked.)

The City of Bainbridge Island proudly supports and appreciates our business community.  You may contact COBI Business Licensing Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at (206) 780-8591 or businesslicensing@bainbridgewa.gov.