West Seattle Grand Parade sign cost doubles: $ needed

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli from 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade)
An update to our story from last month about the West Seattle Grand Parade seeking your help again this year: Parade coordinators now have the price estimate for the signs that the city no longer provides, and it’s almost double last year’s cost! This is the second year the city has required event presenters to pick up these costs, and without $ help, the parade is in jeopardy. Here’s the update from parade co-coordinator Dave Vague:

The 79th Annual West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade is in need of community support to happen this year. The parade is currently scheduled for Saturday, July 21, at 11:00 AM. However, to run the parade, we are in desperate need to raise funds. Our largest expense started last year when the Seattle DOT required us to fund the cost of our own No Parking barricade signs. The initial bid last year was $3,000 and ended up being about $3,700. The bid we have secured for 2012 for the same signs as jumped to $7,000!

One of our sponsors from last year has agreed to fund a similar amount this year, which means we still need to raise $5,000 in the next four months. If you would like to donate or sponsor the parade this year we can use your help.

Donations can be made at the West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade website:

Or you can contact the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 directly at (206) 935-9407.

For more information, please contact Dave Vague vagued@comcast.net or Jim Edwards wsbigband@ureach.com.

As noted in previous reports, the parade cannot charge entry fees, or else it will have to pay an even-higher fee to the city for its permits. As do many local businesses, WSB supports many community events, so we’ve just chipped in again for this one. Whether you can give $10 or $1,000, we challenge you to join in too.

16 Replies to "West Seattle Grand Parade sign cost doubles: $ needed"

  • amom March 7, 2012 (4:29 pm)

    It seems strange that the costs for such a thing would rise so dramatically. Any word from the city as to why?

    • WSB March 7, 2012 (5:05 pm)

      The city isn’t who they have to be rented from. Private company, but has to meet city’s standards, since the parade closes a city street.

  • wsbigband March 7, 2012 (4:59 pm)


    The city traffic plan on the permit is unchanged, from the past few years. The barricade vendor may not have had enough time to review the plan prior to giving a quote last year. I know I had trouble getting a copy of the plan from SDOT myself in the weeks leading up to the parade. This parade route has a bypass route that runs the length of the 1.5 mile route, plus additional bypass routes for Metro. Our 1.5 mile parade has about 4 miles of barricades. As a result, it sounds like the barricade vendor was an unwilling sponsor of the parade last year.

  • alkikmac March 7, 2012 (5:01 pm)

    $7000 for borrowed barricades? Smells fishy

  • dd March 7, 2012 (5:05 pm)

    it is not the city that owns/rents/charges for signs, it is a private company. the city just tells you what you need, you can get them anywhere.

    it would be the vendor that raised costs.

    saying that, it does seem an excessive increase if indeed the order is the same as in previous years.

    and the cost probably includes set up and take down of the signs, using your own labor or volunteers would cut the costs.

  • LyndaB March 7, 2012 (5:46 pm)

    Too bad it’s not feasible to just buy the signs since the parade is every year.

  • JoAnne March 7, 2012 (8:03 pm)

    This is a ripoff price, and I bet there is a kickback to the city where the vendor pays them some type of fee to put up the signs.
    That is what the city does with companies towing for the city (and the city fees increase the cost of towing by about 2-3x…then city and vendor can legitimately blame each other).

  • Oliver Little March 7, 2012 (9:28 pm)

    OK, here we go- This price is entirely reasonable for the rental, placement and removal of the amount of approved “no park” signage it takes to give you enough time to get your vehicle out of the way before the event organizer has to tow you. It also covers the street closure signage to keep other cars from blasting their way onto the parade route and the signage needed for the rerouting of public transit. It probably also covers the reqired block by block reporting that the event organizer has to submit to the city in order to enforce towing.

    Volunteers could take care of some of the placement, but the job can be dangerous and there is an incredible amount of liability involved. It’s just not worth the risk.

    The company that rents this required signage provides excellent service at fair prices and I’m not happy hearing them bashed here. Their very best man in the field, Tom, is from the West side. He works hard to make sure you, the public, stays safe while traffic is rerouted for your special events. He puts his own butt on the line in crazy West Seattle traffic to get his job done.

    Free events used to get free signage from the city, but that’s gone due to budget cuts that are now necessary due to the general public’s taxation witch hunts. The same people complaining here would scream bloody murder if they heard what that “donation” from the city was worth. Fair is fair.

    Everyone seems to want something for nothing. Please try to understand how things work before you use words like ripoff and kickback. That borders on defamation.
    Thanks for your consideration.
    As you were…

    • WSB March 7, 2012 (10:11 pm)

      Thanks, Oliver (who, if someone doesn’t recognize the name, is a master make-events-happen type of person – I don’t know how to describe what he does except also “make the magic happen” – including big events in West Seattle, among them the biggest of them all, Summer Fest) – honestly, I’m surprised it doesn’t cost more. I have been part of organizations that presented events for a far smaller crowd – awards banquets for a few hundred people, no street closures involved – and putting them on cost far more. There is a massive amount of volunteer time that already goes into this parade, from the coordinators/managers to the hundreds of people who are part of the parade, and the big spectator turnout seems to be proof the community appreciates it; please throw in a few bucks if you do. The parade is such a fabulous few hours of West Seattleites showing up in one place at one time to celebrate each other, including meeting new friends sitting along the parade route. It’s one of the reasons I started writing about West Seattle at this domain in 2005, long before we found ourselves morphing into a news site … one of the special things about my “adopted” (as of 1991) hometown. Thanks again to everybody who helped last year and will be helping this year … TR

  • Josh March 7, 2012 (9:49 pm)

    I appreciate Oliver’s good words. Let’s all figure out how we can help make the parade happen!

  • Oliver Little March 7, 2012 (10:22 pm)

    Thanks Tracy. I appreciate the kind words and hope we can all get involved to help this keep parade happening. My favorite part is the motorcycle stunt teams!

  • Lorelee March 8, 2012 (1:10 am)

    I said this last year; I’ll say it again. Give those an opportunity who are actually THERE to donate a few bucks from their pocket. Didnt see anyone seeking donations last year and would have gladly donated to keep it going! I’m less likely to go online and donate although I love this parade.

    • WSB March 8, 2012 (1:47 am)

      Since I am fairly certain parade organizers aren’t going to see this for a while … In concept, that idea makes sense. But on behalf of the volunteers who put this on – take a minute and imagine the logistics. If you haven’t before, watch from the head end of the parade and see what it takes just to get the thing going. Every ounce of volunteer power they have is needed to manage it. I saw for the first time when we were in it for the first time in 2008 and it boggles the mind. And even with the routine the longtime coordinators have down, they couldn’t do it without additional volunteer power brought in from elsewhere – the Seafair volunteers you see at the start of the route and along it. Imagine trying to pass a hat (multiple hats) for 2 sides of a street, almost 2 miles, and then afterward, trying to count the cash, get it to a bank (let alone possible complications such as, if somebody came along and said they were collecting for the parade, how would you know they were legit? this is not an organization with uniforms or badges or credentials, it’s sort of a task force that comes together once a year to make this happen). Donation boxes are almost as difficult to manage (one year when we were helping in the Summer Fest info booth, other volunteers had a couple collection boxes for Junction Plaza Park, and they were a source of consternation and complications) … Bummed to hear online donating wouldn’t work for you, but it is fast, simple for most, and everything goes to one place, one account, a streamlined process that is vital for a small group or organization. People donating through PayPal don’t have to have a PP account – if you scroll down, the left side of the payment page offers an option to just use a credit card like any other purchase online, and there’s no minimum – I think I made an online payment of $1 this way once, for something! – TR

  • Sarah March 8, 2012 (9:40 am)

    Tons of groups practice in front of our house prior to the parade. Just wanted folks to be aware that no parking signs are actually set up in multiple places in our neighborhood. It’s much bigger than California Ave.

    We are happy to donate AND happy to pay more taxes so events like these and other services are returned to their former levels.

  • JoAnne March 8, 2012 (1:17 pm)

    Oliver, I did not actually accuse or name anyone, and only voiced an entirely reasonable suspicion/skepticism.
    However, taxation “witch hunts” is rather absurd language to describe a city that has been spending freely and recklessly for decades. And mostly for projects that diminish public life…from self-cleaning toilets, to road diets to staffed apartment homes for drug addicts. That doesn’t even include the ridiculous wasteful spending, like for food tsars, social engineers, and bag bans.
    In fact the only “hunt” I’m aware of is the constant grasping by the city for new ways to get into our pocket. Even the most modest services are now transformed into new revenue streams for our poor, persecuted city council and mayor.
    Furthermore, I did not see a denial that there is or will be a payment from the vendor to the city. That might have been an oversight. Or not.

  • Oliver Little March 8, 2012 (6:10 pm)

    No offense intended JoAnne. I’m not a politician, I’m a community member. Your points are legimate and I’m not debating what you believe in. I’d just like to see this parade continue to happen and believe in positive energy. This parade can’t solve Seattle politics, but it can inspire and delight our community.
    I’ve been thinking all day about whether or not my post would get a defensive response and there it is.
    Let’s build together, rather than tear each other apart. We deserve it.

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