The Largest Gathering of People in Washington State History
In the history of events in Washington State, people have gathered to celebrate, watch an event, protest, or even compete against one another.
Even in my short lifetime, there have been many events with huge crowds of tens to hundreds of thousands of people in one location at the same time.
Some of those events I was lucky enough to participate in person and witness for myself.
So what were the biggest crowds ever gathered in the history of Washington State?
Largest Crowds in World History
To understand the size of Washington’s biggest crowds, we really need to take a look at the largest in the world as a baseline to compare.
Most of the records for the largest crowds to gather in world history happen in two countries, and all for the same reason.
All of the top 25 largest crowds in world history happened in either India or Iraq and were between 10 and 50 million people.
Washington has had some big crowds, but nothing that even comes close to getting on this list.
Elvis Visits Seattle for the First Time
Technically, this barely qualifies to even be on the list but it was a big deal in Washington State history so I’ll mention it.
Elvis visited Washington a few times, but his first was in 1957 at the Sicks’ Seattle Stadium.
He performed in front of 16,200 people, which up to that point was the largest crowd to ever watch a performance in Washington State history according to History Link.
These crowds were not nearly big enough for the biggest of all time in Washington State.
Washington State Concert/Sports Venues
If you are trying to guess the largest crowd ever in Washington State, you might guess an event at one of our beautiful concert or sports venues.
The Gorge Amphitheater just outside of Gorge, Washington is an amazing place to watch a concert.
It is one of the largest outdoor venues I can think of in Washington, but the capacity is only just under 28,000 making it too small of a venue.
In Spokane, the largest venue is the Spokane Arena and it only holds around 14,000 people.
Those are both big, but I have personally been to many football games with much bigger crowds.
Seattle’s Biggest Sports Stadiums
The 3 largest venues in Seattle (Husky Stadium, T-Mobile Park, and Lumen Field) hold the most people possible for concerts or sporting events in Washington State.
T-Mobile Park can hold 47,929 for baseball games and slightly more for concerts. Lumen Field has a capacity of around 69,000 with expansion possible to 72,000 for special events.
The stadium for the University of Washington, also called Husky Stadium, holds just over 70,000 for football games and is the largest outdoor stadium in Washington State.
Even with those numbers, it still falls short of the largest crowds to gather in Washington State history.
Lilac Bloomsday Race in Spokane, Washington
If you were raised near Spokane, Washington, you might have guessed Bloomsday was the largest crowd in Washington’s history.
If you haven’t heard of it, Bloomsday is one of the largest human road races in the United States.
It used to be one of the largest in the world but has declined in numbers since 1996 when it became the 12th largest run in world history.
In that year, just over 61,000 people ran in Bloomsday which is a 12km run held in the spring.
I ran it once when I was a kid and it was an endless stream of people.
60,000 people is still not even close to the two largest gatherings in Washington State history.
Seattle Supersonics Win NBA World Title 1979
Yes, Washington State has had its share of riots, large concerts, and sporting events, but nothing compares to two huge celebrations after winning world championships.
The first was when the Seattle Supersonics won the city’s first major world sports title in 1979.
After the team brought home Seattle’s first and only NBA title home, there was such a huge celebration downtown that people said it would be the biggest of all time.
Around 400,000 people flooded into Seattle to celebrate the win with an enormous victory parade.
I was only 4 years old at the time, but Kiro 7 produced a wonderful YouTube video with clips and interviews about the entire event.
Even 400,000 people celebrating in downtown Seattle is not the largest crowd in Washington State history if you can believe it.
I know, because I was at the largest in Washington State history.
Seattle Seahawks Win First NFL Super Bowl World Title
The buildup to the Seattle Seahawks finally winning a Super Bowl was a long time coming.
When it finally happened in 2014, that buildup exploded onto the streets of Seattle and all of Washington State.
Even that night thousands of giddy Seattle Seahawks fans ran into the streets, peacefully celebrating our first NFL Championship and videos circulated all over the internet.
Celebrate 48 in Seattle Sets Crowd Records
After the Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl, the team announced they would close down the city on the following Wednesday for a parade and party celebrating the win with their fans.
They called the huge party “Celebrate 48” and the entire state was invited.
Schools and workplaces were closed all over the state as fans converged to downtown Seattle.
Hundreds of thousands of crazy fans flooded into Seattle to celebrate with estimates of the crowd by police to be around 700,000 people.
Freezing with 700,000 Other Happy Seattle Seahawks Fans
I was there with my whole family, freezing because it was so cold and the parade was hours and hours delayed.
It was still one of the most memorable and greatest days of my life as a Seattle Seahawks fan.
Later, officials gave a more conservative estimate of over 450,000 people but that still makes it the largest crowd to ever gather in Washington State.
So the official answer is the largest crowd in Washington State history is somewhere between 450,000 and 700,000 people!
If the Mariners win an MLB title will the party be bigger? We have yet to see, cross your fingers!