Parade at what price? West Seattle Grand Parade faces $3,000 bill

(WSB photo from 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade, by Christopher Boffoli)
Yet another city-budget shock wave is rippling tonight – this time, one that casts a cloud over a decades-old West Seattle summertime tradition.

American Legion Post 160, longtime sponsor of the midsummer West Seattle Grand Parade, has just started planning for this year’s parade, set for July 23rd, and has learned it’s facing a big new bill – not unlike the local youth-sports leagues that are suddenly paying thousands more than they used to.

Last year, we reported on the close call American Legion Post 160 and other summertime event sponsors had with a city “cost-recovery” proposal – at one point in May, it looked like events happening just weeks later might have to pay for their own traffic control, which the city has always picked up, and that could have cost the West Seattle Grand Parade $1,500 it didn’t have.

Given the short notice and big protests from other affected groups, the city decided to pull back for last year, while issuing a warning about this year’s budget. So now, it’s 2011. Post 160’s parade chair Dave Vague tells WSB, “Although the city has not changed its fee schedule for the parade, the Seattle DOT is now requiring us to handle all of our own No Parking signs. I asked one of the barricade companies for a bid and it is going to cost us $3,000 to put up all of the signs. Needless to say, this is too large a burden for the American Legion to take on by themselves now.”

The “no fee-schedule change” to which Vague refers cuts both ways. As explained in our story last year, while the obvious solution would seem to be for Post 160 to charge entry fees for commercial participants, they can’t; parades that charge entry fees are charged sharply higher permit fees. Right now, so that their permit fees stay low, there’s no fee for anyone to enter (though some donations are received).

So how to handle the $3,000? Vague says, Post 160 is turning to you for ideas and support:

We are looking to the West Seattle Community to help us raise the necessary funds for the parade or help us find a sponsor or sponsors to help us with the cost. If your readers would like to donate or have ideas on how we could raise the funds needed, they can contact the American Legion at (206) 935-9407 or write me at

(WSB photo from 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade, by Mindon Win)
As longtime fans of the West Seattle Grand Parade, and co-sponsor of multiple community events each year since we became a business, we have already said (as we did last year) that WSB will be first in line to be a sponsor if Post 160 decides to go that route. What’s your thought about the best solution? Let Post 160 know, and/or post a comment here.

22 Replies to "Parade at what price? West Seattle Grand Parade faces $3,000 bill"

  • Paul February 13, 2011 (10:43 pm)

    Could they persuade some of their commercial paricipants to fund the no parking signs?: “this no parking sign brought to you by Joe’s Auto Repair”…

  • dsa February 13, 2011 (11:15 pm)

    It is peanuts and insulting for the city to burden the post with this. However it is not much for a large group if we pull together. I’m willing to donate if I see them request it here, preferably with an address. Yes I know I could find it.

  • Rob February 13, 2011 (11:24 pm)

    We (R.D. House Property Management) would absolutely sign up as sponsors for the parade- please let us know if that becomes an option and what the ad offerings would be!

  • celeste17 February 14, 2011 (12:05 am)

    Is it a requirement to have that company put up the signs? Can we get a group of volunteers to put up the signs? Would that save any money?

  • Katrina February 14, 2011 (12:32 am)

    If the city wants $3k for traffic control – why not train volunteers to direct traffic and put up/take down signs?

  • littlebrowndog February 14, 2011 (4:54 am)

    Let’s use this forum to organize the fund raising drive. If people would donate $5 each that is only 600 people—a very small price to pay for such a family friendly event.

  • ConcernedCitizenR February 14, 2011 (5:32 am)

    WE the people of West Seattle are a number higher then 3,000 …. if some of us would just donate even $1.00 we could have the money in a day!!!

    Where could a “donation” bucket be put!? Just let us know!

  • sam-c February 14, 2011 (7:07 am)

    I mentioned it on the WSB a week or so ago… If it’s such a critical budget issue, why are they moving forward this year with “Summer Streets,” a relatively new event, when there are so many events, such as this parade, that have been bring communities together for fun for so many years ??

    there are already so many events around the entire city where streets are closed off, booths are set up, and people can walk in the street.
    I think the junction business could collect donations somehow, and reach that goal..I would donate

  • RJB February 14, 2011 (7:09 am)

    Some funds could be raised during the West Seattle garage sale, I have a bunch of items I could donate and I am sure others would. I believe that other business will also offer to sponsor as the word gets out. Thanks WSB and RD House Property Mgmt for both stepping up! Hopefully this will become an option!

  • RKW February 14, 2011 (8:28 am)

    Seattle Real Estate Associates will sign up as a sponsor as soon as details are available. As residents we love the Grand Parade and as a newly relocated business in the Junction we are pleased to be able to support our community.

  • Lorelee February 14, 2011 (8:40 am)

    Love this parade. With some organization our community can fund it ( and more). Maybe it could be a fundraiser for a local charity like family promise or West side baby with the costs deducted from the donations. I recall the Fremont Sunday Fair (now s farmers market) used to have donation stations at entry for solid ground-this could work too

  • WSRes February 14, 2011 (8:50 am)

    20 businesses should host donation boxes and could also contribute donations themselves. An online option would also be very useful to pull from the WSBlogosphere. A paypal or square account would probably be good.

  • I love a parade February 14, 2011 (11:26 am)

    For the amount of effort required to raise $3K to pay someone to put no parking signs up wouldn’t it just be easier to get 10-15 people to spend a couple hours to do it ourselves (for free)? Of course we’d need to get some signs. . . . . .

    • WSB February 14, 2011 (11:28 am)

      I haven’t researched to find this out for sure but I would suspect that you can’t just put up an ad-hoc “no parking” sign – there are likely approved contractors, sign standards, liability, etc. Or maybe not! We’ll certainly have followups on this, so keep the ideas flowing …

      • WSB February 14, 2011 (11:50 am)

        P.S. for those interested, the City of Seattle Special Events Committee has jurisdiction over permits for parades. I was looking up some of their info … Dave Vague from the Legion had mentioned, for example, that the permit fee for a parade charging entry fees is five times that for parades that don’t … indeed, that table of charges is linked here:
        for events like this one with 1,000-5,000 attendance projected, it’s $474 for a permit if no entry fee is charged, $2,248 if an entry fee is charged.
        As for the no-parking signs, there ARE extensive rules – I found them here:

  • sam-c February 14, 2011 (11:40 am)

    re: ‘no parking’ signs- I would imagine some of those efforts are related to coordinate permits with SDOT, too?

  • Jordan February 14, 2011 (12:42 pm)

    Have the Post set up a PayPal account where we can donate online. I would be more than happy to send some money their way for this event.

    Having walked this parade with the Cub Scouts the last three years I know there are many thousands who participate and watch this parade each year. It is truly a community event for West Seattle.

  • Teri Ensley February 14, 2011 (3:39 pm)

    I will commit to donating $25.00—anyone willing to match me?

    Plus, just got off the phone with Melanie of Pet Elements, she has committed to hosting a ‘Donation Station’ as her store…so that’s where I’ll be taking my $25.00 tonight after work!

    Their address is…6701 California Ave SW.

  • Teri Ensley February 14, 2011 (3:41 pm)

    oops…my ‘post’ finger was too quick!

    Thanks to Jordan for getting the Paypal account setup! You’re right, this a great community event for West Seattle–so let’s support it.

  • Jordan February 14, 2011 (4:19 pm)

    Sorry, I’m just suggesting that the Post should set up a PayPal account. That is the easiest way for a lot of us to kick in some money. Still think it is a good idea and I don’t think it is difficult for them to do.

  • rainycity1 February 14, 2011 (5:04 pm)

    When is the $3000 needed? Can it wait until the WS Garage Sale or is it needed before then? The Paypal donation fund is a great idea, as is making arrangements for local businesses to collect donations. I think the community would support this; we just need to know the specifics.

    Another option would be to start a Kickstarter fundraiser ( But with both Kickstarter and PayPal, there are additional fees, so we need to keep in mind that we really need more that $3000 and set the goal appropriately.

  • CeeBee February 14, 2011 (6:45 pm)

    As part of the permiting process, the city will issue a traffic control plan which will show exactly what signs have to go where. So volunteers could put the signs up along the parade route. The tricky part is sometimes the city process grinds so slowly that the traffic plan might only come out a few days before the parade. There will still be a rental fee, but we all could be mule power to place the signs and that should bring the bid down.

Sorry, comment time is over.