How do I host a special event in a park?

Special Events Office at (414) 257-4503

Special Event Permit Application must be completed, submitted, approved, and processed by the Milwaukee County Parks Special Events Office, including a non-refundable down payment, to reserve an outdoor park space, parkway or park road for any of the following:

  • Public event, e.g. outreach, rally, promotional event, or religious event;
  • Bike race, bike ride, cross country meet, walk or run;
  • Outside event with amplified music or speaker system;
  • Wedding ceremonies in a non-designated area,
  • Lakefront or Downtown park space for any reason; and
  • Outdoor park space that is not designated as an athletic field or picnic area
  • Virtual Gaming (For game developers only)
Application Process
  • Application Submission: Complete and submit the Special Event Permit Application to the Milwaukee County Parks Special Events Office for review and approval.  Attach a detailed map of your requested route and/or site map to your application. Your application will not be reviewed if a route and/or site map are not included.
  • Application Review:  After receipt of your application, you will be notified by the Special Events Office within two (2) weeks regarding the status of your application.


  • If your Special Event Application is approved, you will receive an email with fees and requirements that need to be met in-order to obtain your Special Event Permit.  Fees can include but it is not limited to base fees, additional fees, admission & entry fees, collecting donations, silent auction, raffle, per participant fees, picnic, pavilion & athletic field fees, setup & teardown fees, vendor fees.
  • New events are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500.00 for events held on the Lakefront (McKinley Park, Veterans Park and Lincoln Memorial Drive) and $250.00 for events held at any other Milwaukee County Park when submitting the Special Event Application.  If event is approved, deposit will be deposited and applied toward the final fees.
  • Wisconsin State Taxes: All special event permit fees include sales tax (5.6%).  If you are a tax-exempt organization, a copy of your Certificate of Tax Exemption issued by the Department of Revenue from the State of Wisconsin needs to be submitted.


  • Certificate of Insurance:  ALL Special Events (excluding wedding ceremonies) are required to submit a “Certificate of Insurance” in the amount of $1,000,000 worth of general liability coverage that names Milwaukee County Parks as an additional insured for the date(s) of your event including set-up and teardown date(s).
  • Liquor Liability Insurance:  If serving or selling alcohol at a public event, you are required to submit a “Liquor Liability Insurance” in the amount of $1,000,000 worth of Insurance coverage that names Milwaukee County Parks as an additional insured for the date(s) of your event.
  • City Municipal Liquor License:  If serving or selling alcohol at a public event, you must obtain a city municipal liquor license.
  • Noise Variance Permit: The City of Milwaukee is the only municipality that requires a Noise Variance Permit. To apply for your Noise Variance Permit please call (414) 286-3280 
  • Vendors / Sales:  A city or local municipal license may also be required.  Please contact the corresponding City or municipality to see if an additional license is required.
  • Routes:  All proposed routes are subject to Milwaukee County Park approval, and use of any space outside the park (such as a City street) must be approved by the city or municipality.  All closures need to be approved and handled by the municipality and/or Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.


  • The Special Event Application is NOT a permit.
  • Advertising for an event before obtaining written approval from the Milwaukee County Parks Special Events Office is not allowed.  The use of social media is considered advertising if distributed publicly.
  • All fees and requirements must be satisfied to receive a Special Event Permit.

For more information, call the Special Events Office at  (414) 257-4503 

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