How do I host a special event in a park?
Special Events Office at (414) 257-4503
A 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 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 or visit http://city.milwaukee.gov/Env/Noise1.htm
- 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 or email Special Events.