Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Special Event Instructions for Friends Groups

All Friends Group events must submit a special event permit request to host an event in the park. This page contains detailed instructions for groups that are registered as official Dane County Parks Friends groups.

Requesting a Special Event

All Friends group events must submit a Special Event Permit request. There is no cost to our Friends and partner groups for these permits. It is through this process that we reserve shelters if needed. Approved special events are also added to our park operations calendar to ensure that there aren't any mowers or loud park equipment on-site during your event. If the event is approved, staff will make sure to prepare that site in advance so that it looks nice, garbage cans are emptied and ready to go, etc. 

Our special event permit request online application can be found online:


Overview of the Process:

  • Visit the Special Event Permit Request webpage on our online reservation and permit system.
  • Create an account or login to your existing account.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Special Event Permit section
  • Click on blue text below the photo that says “Submit a Request”
  • Use the calendars on the left to find the date you want, click on it (if multiple dates, select the first one and add more date details in the custom questions)
  • A big time block of the selected date will show up in the middle section of the screen. Click on the big light blue time block. When you do that, the block turns dark blue to indicate it has been selected.
  • Once it is selected click on the "Add to Cart" button in the lower right corner of the screen. 
  • The system will ask you questions about your event. Answer the questions and then submit your event request. 
  • No fees are charged to submit a special event request – they will be assessed when the event is approved. Because you are a Friends Group, fees will always be waived as long as at least 50% of the event proceeds go to the Friends (read our Event Rules & Information page for policy on waiving fees).
  • Parks Office staff will email you within 24 business hours to confirm that your request was received and that the facility is being held for you. They will email again a few days later to notify you if the event was approved. 


Optional Event Resources:

  • Special Event Trailer: includes pop up canopies, plastic folding tables, high visibility volunteer vests, large water jugs, parking supplies like marking flags and barricades, coolers and a few other resources.
  • Large tent: this is a 20' x 30' tent that comes on a trailer and needs to be assembled by volunteers. 
  • Extra Picnic tables: delivered in loads of 6.
  • Extra trash and recycling receptacles

To request these resources, email Joleen Stinson.

Event Rules and Information

All of our policies for waiving fees, vending in parks, and sponsorship are listed on our Event Rules & Information webpage.


Volunteer Events and Tool Trailer

Regular land restoration workdays do not need to be submitted through this special event process.  If you’re going to hold a larger workday (over 50 people) please do submit a special event permit request. In the case of larger workdays, there is also a volunteer trailer with additional hand tools that can be reserved.  To request the volunteer tool trailer, email Claire Lamberg, Land & Water Volunteer Coordinator.

Promoting your Event

Dane County Parks is happy to help you promote your park events. In order for us to do this, please help us by doing the following for each of your events. Visit our Outreach Resources page to learn more.