Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Event Rules & Information

All other rules listed on the Park Hours, Rules & Information page apply in addition to those listed below.

Friends and Partner Events

Waiving Fees
If a Dane County Parks Friends group or partner group would like to host an event in a county park, the fees (shelter reservation, special event, use fees, etc) can be waived if more than 50% of the gross income (vending, entrance fees, etc) from the event goes to the friends group or Dane County Parks.

Examples that would qualify:

  • A friends group hosts a run and 100% of the revenue goes back to the friends group
  • A partner organization hosts a bike ride event and donates 50% of the gross revenue from the event to Dane County Parks

Example that would NOT qualify:

  • A friends group hosts a fundraiser event with 3 other nonprofits and all nonprofits split the revenue (25% stays with the friends group).

Friends groups can have vendors at their events. For events up to 300 participants it is up to the Friends to decide if they want to ask for a donation or a percentage of the vendor’s profit to go back to support the Park.  For events above 301 participants, vending revenues must be taken into account and how the vending proceeds will be treated. 

If a Dane County Parks Friends group or partner group would like to host an event in a county park and 50% or more of the gross income is not going to the friends group or Dane County Parks the park fees will not be waived. The group can discuss having Dane County Parks as an event sponsor in exchange for reduced fees. This would be discussed with the Parks Director.

Private Businesses in Parks

Demonstrations (no vending)
If a business wants to do a demonstration, they can apply for a Special Event Permit and will pay special event and use area fees. No vending fees will be charged.

If a business wants to sell products on a Dane County Parks property, they can apply for Vending Permit.  Currently Vending Permits are issued for a specific day and must include an estimate of the number of anticipated visitors. If there will be multiple vendors, a Special Event Permit is required.

Group Meetups

Any group that publicizes a group meetup at a park shelter, facility, or parking area must reserve the shelter or obtain a Special Event Permit in advance and/or reserve the facility to avoid conflicts with other park users.  Parks staff may also be able to help the group members obtain permits in advance to avoid waiting in line at a kiosk at the park. 

Any group that publicizes a meetup at a park or dog park (not using a specific facility) should contact the Dane County Parks office ( in advance to make sure it doesn’t conflict with another event and to give park rangers advance notice that there may be a larger than normal gathering on that day.  Some events may require a Special Event Permit (see Special Events).