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Picnic & Special Event Permits

a picnic

Our picnic groves and preserves are popular locations for gatherings of all sizes.

 

The Forest Preserves have approximately 297 picnic groves (191 with shelters) available for public use. Permit fees vary based on grove size, capacity and special items used on Forest Preserves property. Basic picnic permits range from $47 to $115, but special event permits may cost more.

 

Need help? Contact us at FPDCC.RVP@cookcountyil.gov or (800) 870-3666 (option 2).

 

Jump to:   Basic Picnic | Large Picnic or Special Event | Not for Profit Discount

 

Basic Picnic

 

Apply for a Basic Picnic Permit if your event will:

  • Have 25 – 399 attendees; AND
  • NOT have any special use items (inflatables, generators, amplified sound, tents larger than 10×10, petting zoos, etc.)

 

Purchase Basic Picnic Permit:

Purchase OnlineDownload Application

 

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Large Picnic or Special Event

 

Apply for a Large Picnic or Special Event Permit if your event will:

  • Have 400+ attendees*; OR
  • Have special use items (inflatables, generators, amplified sound, tents larger than 10×10, petting zoo, etc.); OR
  • Be a special event such as a walk-a-thon, run, fishing derby, etc.

 

*Please note: Events with 400+ attendees are limited to our large event areas. Click here for large event area listings (PDF).

 

 

Insurance Requirements

All permits for Large Picnics or Special Events require a Certificate of General Liability Insurance, naming the Forest Preserves of Cook County as an additional insured in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence. All documentation must be submitted and approved at least 10 business days prior to the event. Click here for instructions and a sample certificate (PDF).

 

 

What is a Special Use Item?

Special Use Items include, but are not limited to:

 

Amplified Equipment

Canopy Tents

Dunk Tanks

Food Trucks/Snack Machines

Game Booths

Generators

Inflatables

Kiddie Rides

On-site Caterers

Petting Zoos

Pony Rides

Port-o-lets/Port-o-sinks

 

Purchase Large Picnic or Special Event Permit:

Purchase OnlineDownload Application

 

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Not for Profit Discount

 

A bona fide Not for Profit organization is one which is engaged in charitable, educational, civic, youth and faith-based activities. For purposes of qualifying for the Not for Profit Organization Reduced Rate, an applicant must submit proof of the following:

 

  • Exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Current registration with the Illinois Attorney General as a charitable organization;
  • The location of the official headquarters or administrative office of the organization submitting the request for said permit is located in County Cook and is the same as that which is on file with the Illinois Attorney General, or was submitted for exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, except in the case of local chapters of national organizations, wherein the local chapter maintains a Cook County office and submits proof of affiliation with the national organization. The following are acceptable proof of address:
    • Letter on company letter head signed by management
    • Business card with name of applicant
  • If the applicant is a school located within Cook County, no additional documentation or proof of Not for Profit status shall be required, other than a letter on school letterhead signed by an official of the school stating that the activity/event is officially sanctioned under and supervised by employee(s) of the school.

 

Purchase at Not for Profit Organization Reduced Rate:

Download Application

 

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Visit two of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County