Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Special Events & Weddings

Looking for a special venue for your family reunion, wedding or other event?  Dane County Parks offer locations in unique natural settings including shelters and the Lussier Family Heritage Center facility. 


When is a Special Event Permit required?

Will your event need a little extra planning and coordination on our part?  If so, it may require a Special Event Permit (PDF) issued by Dane County Parks.  Criteria that may indicate a special event include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Public event (such as a walk/run; bike event, music event, fishing tournament, etc.). Once your application is approved, you can submit the event to our Events Calendar.
  • Charging a fee for people to attend or participate in
  • More than 200 people are expected to attend (exceeding 200 does not automatically mean that it’s a special event)
  • Sale of food, alcohol or merchandise
  • A school event, such as a cross country meet, etc. (a shelter reservation for a school picnic would most likely not rise to the level of a special event unless a large volume of people were expected that would trigger other needs, such as mowing for parking, or special waste collection)
  • Use areas of the park other than shelters or group camps (such as trails, boat launches, open areas, etc.)
  • Use of extensive or multiple park areas
  • Use of park areas outside normal park hours (this is generally discouraged, even for special events, but there may be exceptions)
  • Require additional:
    • Parking - more than is provided
    • Waste collection (trash and recycle) than is provided
    • Mowing of areas not usually mowed
  • Require portable toilet.
  • Deviate from the Park Rules and Regulations (ex. camping in an undesignated area)

If one or more of the above criteria describe your event, please submit a Special Event Permit Application (PDF) or call the Parks office at (608) 224-3730. If none of the above criteria describe your event, please continue to our Online Shelter Reservation System or the Lussier Family Heritage Center website.

Thank you for choosing Dane County Parks for your event. We look forward to working with you!