Picnic & Special Event Permits

New Opening Day:
2019 Picnic & Event Permits
On Sale Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8 am

Purchase Online Download Application

a picnic

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

 

The Forest Preserves has 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.

Purchase Your Permit:

Fees, requirements and deadlines vary depending on the details of your event. You must be 21 years old to purchase a permit.

 

Purchase OnlineCheck AvailabilityDownload Application

 

Need help? Contact us at fpd.permits@cookcountyil.gov or (800) 870-3666. If you already have a permit, please include your permit number and date of event in the subject of your email. Please note: you cannot purchase a permit over the phone or email.

 

Click here for more information on 2017 picnic permit fee increases.

 

Jump to:   Requirements/Deadlines | Special Use Items | Insurance | Non-Profits

 

Definitions, Requirements & Deadlines

 

Fees, requirements and deadlines vary depending on the details of your event. Click here for an overview of permits fees (PDF). Requests received within two weeks of event date are subject to denial or a $25 late fee.

 

Basic Picnic

Definition
Examples
  • Family reunion
  • Birthday party
  • Graduation party
Application Deadlines
  • Online: 14 days prior to event
  • In-person: 14 days prior to event
  • Permit changes: 14 days prior to event.
Special Requirements

 

Special Event

Definition
  • Any size attendance
  • Public event or event with registration/tickets
  • May feature special use items
Examples
  • Festival
  • Performance
  • Fundraiser (see “Athletic (Sporting) Events” for walks/runs)
Application Deadlines
  • 25 – 399 attendees: 30 days prior to event
  • 400 – 999 attendees: 45 days prior to event
  • 1,000+ attendees: 60 days prior to event
  • Permit changes: 14 days prior to event.
Special Requirements

 

Athletic (Sporting) Event

Definition
  • Any size attendance
  • Spectator-sport or competition based; may feature a designated route
  • Public event or event with registration/tickets
  • May feature special use items
Examples
  • 5K walk/run
  • Fishing derby
  • Bike race
Application Deadlines
  • 25 – 399 attendees: 30 days prior to event
  • 400 – 999 attendees: 45 days prior to event
  • 1,000+ attendees: 60 days prior to event
  • Permit changes: 14 days prior to event.
Special Requirements
  • Subject to insurance requirements
  • Events with a route/course must submit a designated route and signage plan in advance of permit approval.
  • Events with 400+ attendees must use a large event area. See locations (PDF)

 

Special Use Permit

Definition
  • Any size attendance
  • Accommodations for items not naturally found in the preserves
  • Requires an approved or pending picnic/event permit.
Examples Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Amplified equipment
  • Animals (petting zoo, pony rides, etc.)
  • Canopy tent (larger than 10’x10′)
  • Commercial grade grills (5′ & wider)
  • Dumpsters
  • Generators
  • Inflatables
  • On-site catering
  • Port-o-let/port-o-sink
  • Snack machines (popcorn, cotton candy, etc.)
  • Stages/Platforms
Application Deadlines
Special Requirements
Approved Vendor List

 

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Insurance Requirements

Special Events, Athletic (Sporting) Events; plus Basic Picnics using special use items require a Certificate of Liability Insurance with the endorsement attached, naming the Forest Preserves of Cook County as an additional insured in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence. Events with 1,000+ attendees require $2,000,000 per occurrence. All documentation must be submitted and approved at least 10 business days prior to the event.

 

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Non-Profit Discount

 

A bona fide nonprofit organization is one which is engaged in charitable, educational, civic, youth and faith-based activities. For purposes of qualifying for the reduced rate, an applicant must submit proof of the following:

 

  • Exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; or current registration with the Illinois Attorney General as a charitable organization; and
  • The location of the official headquarters or administrative office of the organization submitting the request for said permit is located in the County of 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.

 

If the applicant is a school located within Cook County, no additional documentation or proof of nonprofit status shall be required other than a letter signed by an official of the school stating that the activity, event, and/or use is officially sanctioned under and supervised by employee(s) of the school.

Purchase at Not for Profit Organization Reduced Rate:

  • In person with cash, check, Visa or MasterCard at our General Headquarters (536 N. Harlem Ave., River Forest, IL 60305), Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Pay full fees when applying for a permit online. Discounted fees will be refunded when acceptable non-profit status documentation is received.
  • Documentation must be received and approved 14 days prior to event date.

Download Application

 

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