Frequently Asked Questions


How do I rent the Civic Center? Call 252-975-9316, ext. 205 to schedule an appointment or make a reservation over the phone. The office is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 2 PM or by appointment.

How long can I rent the building? Rentals are either half-day or full-day. A half-day is 8 hours straight, whichever 8 hours you choose; a whole day is 16 hours. The rental times start at 8 am and end by 12 midnight.

Is a deposit required to reserve a date? A refundable deposit of one half of your rental payment is due to reserve a date. A rental is not considered confirmed until a deposit has been paid. Full payment of the rental is due 2 weeks prior to your rental date. For example, if your fee is $1,000, you will pay $500 to reserve the space AND $1,000 2 weeks prior to your event for a total of $1,500. Following your event, the $500 deposit will be refunded assuming there is no damage to the building.

What is included with my rental? Your rental includes the use of 33 8-foot long banquet style tables and 300 chairs, free Wi-Fi, and facility clean-up. We have 20 round tables and 160 white folding chairs available to rent. It is the renter’s responsibility to set-up tables and chairs. For an additional fee for meeting style events, this can be done by Civic Center staff.

What additional expenses can I expect when renting the Civic Center? Round tables, white folding chairs, and table linens may be rented at an additional fee. Set-up for meeting style events is also available for an additional fee. Additional insurance is required if alcohol is being served.

What planning assistance is offered by the Washington Civic Center? Our staff can help coordinate meetings. For weddings and other social events, a list of local vendors is provided for your assistance.

May I serve alcohol at my event? Yes, alcohol may be served at most events; kid-themed parties or weddings where the Bride or Groom is under age of 21 will not be allowed to serve alcohol. Liquor liability insurance is required when any alcoholic beverages are served. When serving only light alcohol such as beer, wine, or champagne, no ABC permit is required. NC ABC Commission rules do apply if the event is serving hard liquor, has a cash bar, or the event is ticketed. Individuals may not have a cash bar at their event. *See detailed Alcohol Usage Policy – If the proper paperwork is not obtained prior to the event, the Washington Civic Center has the right to cancel the event without a refund. If it is discovered that alcohol was served or brought for the event and it was not part of the rental agreement, then the renter forfeits their entire security deposit – this includes items brought in by your guests.

May I use any caterer? You may use a caterer of your choice or your family and friends may prepare the food for you. We will be happy to provide you with a list of caterers should you need one.

Does the Civic Center have a kitchen? Yes, there is a catering kitchen in the Civic Center. The kitchen facilities are available with entire building rentals or in combination with the Pamlico Ballroom or Belk Bracy Gallery.

What is the responsibility of the Civic Center staff during my event? Civic Center staff is required to be on hand during any rental. The staff is here to ensure the event flows smoothly, to attend to any building related issues, and ensures safety rules are followed. Any set-up is the responsibility of the renter, not the Civic Center Staff. For an additional fee, Civic Center staff can set-up tables and chairs prior to a meeting style event.

How early can I get into the building to begin decorating or setting up for my event? When making your reservation, you will set the hours of your rental. You will have access to the building when your rental time begins. Special, two-day rental packages are available. Many brides select this option to allow more time for decorating. We encourage you to plan accordingly.

Can I use candles to decorate? How about sparklers or tiki lights? Pillar candles and votive candles may be used as part of your table decorations. For safety reasons candles MAY NOT be used on the floor, on the stage, or on the window ledges. The new battery operated candles work well for this effect. Any spilled wax is the responsibility of the renter to clean-up, otherwise the renter can be held responsible and will be charged accordingly for the additional clean-up time. The City of Washington Fire Marshal DOES NOT allow sparklers or tiki lights in or near the building or on the deck along parking lot; but they may be used on the asphalted areas of the parking lot.

Should I be aware of any other limitations when it comes to decorating for my event? Use your imagination and decorate the building to make this the perfect setting for your event; but please be gentle with this building, it is a historic location and has survived over 111 years so far. Help us keep it in its current condition, or better, and treat it with the respect that it deserves.

We ask that you:
• Do not damage the walls, wood, or floors by adding nails or screws; tape and thumb tacks are allowed, but we prefer that you use scotch, masking, or painters tape – packing and duct tape will damage the surfaces. Please remove the tacks and tape when you are removing the decorations.

• Please do not use tape on the brick surfaces. You can use the existing picture rails or you can add Command Hooks – please remove the hooks once the event is over.

• Do not use loose glitter cut-outs or confetti as part of your decorations; if it is used the renter will be held responsible and will forfeit their entire security deposit for the extra clean-up time necessary to remove it from the floors and landscape. – Thank you for your cooperation!

• Take advantage of the picture rails throughout the building, but remember to allow yourself time to remove the tape and excess string used to attach the decorations to them at the end of the event.

• Do not use the electrical conduit running along the walls of the building to hang decorations from, they will not support the additional weight and will rip away from the brick walls. If they are used, the renter will be held responsible and will be charged for the necessary repairs to the conduit and walls.

• Lighting and additional decorations can be hung from the eye-hooks mounted to the exposed rafters in the building, but once again – do not use any nails or screws to attach or hang the decorations from. At the end of the event, please do not just “pull down” the decorations, use the ladders and remove the decorations and the tape, thumb tacks, and string used to hang them.

The Civic Center has ladders that you can use, but please be careful and we politely remind you to use them at your own risk.

• Please to do not use the electrical outlets for the Projector system and Stage Lighting. We have installed (8) 5-plug power strips along the top of the rafters for you to use. Draping the lights and fabric cross the beams is allowed, but please be careful of the electrical lines running along the top of them.

• Please coordinate in advance if you need to schedule early drop-off or late pick-up of rental items; we will try to work with you on this if there is rental space available to store the items – this is not always the case!

• Please respect the landscape around the facility, this is a public building owned and maintained by the City of Washington. We try to keep the landscape in the best condition possible for every event, and ask that you do not take cuttings to use as part of your decorations for your event.

What am I responsible for before leaving the facility? Renters must remove all decorations and personal belongings from the Civic Center at the end of the event. All trash should be bagged and taken to the dumpsters. Please allow yourself plenty of time at the end of your event to remove the decorations properly, breaking down the tables and chairs, as well as cleaning the floors. Renter is responsible for fully cleaning the Kitchen. The Civic Center Staff will assist in the break-down and storage of the tables and chairs.

When can I expect to receive my security deposit refund? Refund checks are mailed within 2 weeks of the date of the event, assuming the facility is left as it should be and no damage is done. Per the rental agreement, management reserves the right to retain a portion or all of the security deposit to cover the costs of additional cleaning or repairs needed following an event.

Is there a severe weather plan? In the event a tropical storm or hurricane is forecast to impact Washington within 72 hours of a scheduled event, management reserves the right to cancel the event in the interest of public safety. If an event is cancelled by management, a full refund will be made to the renter.

Updated November 2017