Hosting an Event in a County Park

Individuals or groups wishing to host a special event on County park property must apply for a Special Activities Agreement (SAA).  A separate agreement is required to host an event on Chester County's regional trails.

Please read the following information carefully before completing the application

While we have tried to make this process as simple as possible, please be aware that in some cases, you may need to contact municipal, state or federal agencies in addition to Chester County for additional permits.

General Information
Any organized activity involving the use of open fields, multiple facilities and roadways, which include or necessitate the deployment of additional county staff, emergency services personnel, or volunteers for the safe and orderly movement of people, the proper use of County resources and other public infrastructure, and the conduct of activities involving a higher potential of risk and liability shall require a Special Activities Agreement.

  • Please submit the application, along with fee and paperwork, at least 60 days prior to the date of your event if possible.
  • An Agreement will be issued only when all requirements have been met and approved, and all fees are paid or arrangements for payments are made. A planning and/or pre-event meeting may be required.
  • It is the Department’s goal to assist organizers in planning safe and successful events that create minimal impact on the properties and residents surrounding the event.
Application Procedure
  • The applicant may be any member of the sponsoring organization who has been authorized by the organization to apply. The authorized applicant must be 18 years of age and available to work closely with the park staff throughout the process.
  • The application process begins with submitting of a fully completed SAA application. Intake of the application does not imply approval or confirmation of the request.
  • During the review process, you will be notified if the event requires any additional information or permits. During the initial review process, the applicant shall provide all requested documents. Upon approval to proceed, these items (i.e. certificate of insurance, security /damage deposit, secondary permits, etc.) must be received prior to the issuance of an Agreement. Delays in providing these items will negate final approval.
  • All required documents must be included with the application, along with the $25 non-refundable application fee (checks made payable to Treasurer of Chester County).
  • The event is not confirmed until all necessary pre-event fees are paid and you receive a signed copy of the Special Activities Agreement.
Tax Exempt/ Non Profit
  • IRS 501 C -3 tax exemption letter or proof of tax exempt status must be included with the application for all non-profit organizations.
Fees & Costs
  • A non-refundable $25 application fee must be included with the application at time of submission. This includes two one hour meetings with a park representative to discuss event coordination. Additional fees will apply based on the scale of the event.
  • All costs incurred by the Parks Department in conjunction with the event (i.e. staff support/supervision, equipment, supplies, etc.) shall be reimbursed in full upon receipt of an itemized invoice from the County.
  • All other facility use fees in accordance with the adopted fee schedule shall be payable to the Treasurer of Chester County within 30 days of receipt of final invoice.
Fee Schedule
Rates are for Community and Non-Profit Groups. Commercial Groups pay next higher category.

R = Resident Rate; NR = Non-Resident Rate

Event Application Fee -$25 (non-refundable)
  • Includes two hours of event coordination with park staff
  • Applied to event fee upon approval
Short Term
50 or fewer people; 90 minutes or less
R = $50; NR = $60

Small Group Assembly
20 - 100 people
R = $90; NR = $160

Moderate Group Assembly
100 - 250 people
R = $130; NR = $240

Large Group Assembly
251 - 500 people
R = $180
NR = $350

Major Group Assembly
501+ people
R = $1500 ; NR = $2500

Additional Days
R = $600; NR = $1000

Staff Costs (if required)
Ranger or Maintenance - $60/hr
Administrative - $75/hr

Insurance Requirements
  • Before final approval, the applicant may be required to provide a certificate of general liability insurance including bodily injury and property damage in the amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence with an aggregate of $2,000,000 naming County of Chester as an additionally insured. Insurance coverage must be maintained for the duration of the event.
Rules & Regulations
  • A Chester County Park cannot be reserved for the exclusive use of one group. Access to the parks by the general public must be available at all times. Areas may be roped off or otherwise secured if the Department grants this as a specified condition, but we cannot guarantee that the public will not enter the event area. Please keep in mind that our regional parks are in excess of 300 acres with several in excess of 600 acres; multiple uses of the parks do not normally compromise your event.
  • Applicant must comply with all County of Chester Real Estate Rules & Regulations.
  • The Department, as deemed necessary, may impose special rules, regulations and restrictions.
  • Possession of, or being under the influence of, any illegal drug, alcoholic beverage or controlled substance is prohibited.
Set Up/ Assembly
  • After review of the application, a sketch of the site layout for the event may be requested.
  • Some events may require more than one day for set up or the construction plan may be too complex to describe on the application form. In these cases, a detailed plan, a timeline listing various times and locations where impact to public property may occur, and dismantling schedule must be submitted. Additional fees may apply.
  • Any request for park personnel support (e.g. labor, equipment, etc.) must be submitted in a detailed written request.
  • The Department must approve all uses of existing and/or temporary lighting. Depending on the level and complexity, an illuminating engineer or certified electrician may be required to certify that installation and mountings are safe and secure. Temporary lighting shall be directed away from abutting streets and properties.
Parking/ Shuttles/ Mitigation of Impact
  • Parking shall be limited to areas designated accordingly. In some situations when sufficient parking is not available, the event organizer may be required to provide a plan to transport/shuttle participants from an off-site area to the event.
  • If overflow parking is necessary, event organizers must meet with Park Superintendent or designee to generate a plan for vehicles intended to be parked on the event site.
  • Applicant may be required to provide adequate volunteers (with safety vests) for the purpose of directing patron parking. In case of younger participants assisting, individuals ages 14 and under are not permitted to be positioned within 35 feet of a roadway or heavily traveled section of the parking facility.
  • Unfavorable weather and wet soils may result in park grounds being unusable for adequate parking for an approved event.
  • For large scale events, applicant is required to include mitigation plans for negative consequences imposed on others by the event. Mitigation may include local press release to community newspapers, radio, television and flyers to those residents who will be affected by the event. Notices must reflect the date(s), day(s), time(s), location(s) and types of activities taking place at the event. The notice must give detour or alternate route information if access is affected. A draft sample of the stated method of distribution and proposed list of recipients must be attached to the application.
Toilet Facilities/ Sanitation/ Recycling
  • Applicant may be required to provide one portable toilet for every 200 people anticipated, or may be required to pay for additional cleaning. This figure is based upon the maximum anticipated event participants. The Park Superintendent or designee must authorize placement locations for portable toilets. At least one portable toilet must be handicap accessible.
  • Recyclables generated at the event (i.e., aluminum cans, glass, plastic, cardboard, etc.) shall be collected and appropriately disposed.
  • Applicant is responsible for the removal of all trash, litter, debris, etc. associated with the event. The applicant must make arrangements with park staff to supply an adequate number of trash receptacles, and to have trash and other materials removed from the park/facility periodically during the event and immediately upon conclusion of the event.
  • Applicant shall be responsible for leaving the facility in an “as good or better condition” than the site was found prior to the start of the event. Failure to perform adequate clean up and/or should damage occur to County property or facilities, the applicant will be billed at full cost recovery rates plus overhead for cleanup and repairs.
Food Concessions
  • The Chester County Health Department provides food service guidelines. These allow the applicant to plan food handling, preparation and distribution in the most responsible and appropriate manner. Applicant shall be required to comply with all Health Department guidelines.
  • The Health Department may require permits if food or beverages are to be sold or given away during the event. Applicant must obtain all required permits and to have them available on site during the event for review.
Entertainment/ Attractions/ Related Activities
  • Applicant must ensure that all event activities comply with local laws applicable to noise abatement.
  • If a park official determines noise levels from your event exceeds allowable levels, applicant may be required to stop and/or lessen the noise level. Allowable levels are determined by Township ordinances and Chester County guidelines.
  • Applicant may be ordered to cease any musical entertainment if the sound level exceeds allowable levels or if it stimulates the crowd.
  • Banners, signs and similar displays are regulated by rules and regulations. The Park Superintendent must authorize the number and location of these items, which must be removed at the completion of the event. Exterior signs and banners on public roadways may be subject to municipal sign ordinances.
Crowd Control/ Security/ Supervision
  • Applicant must meet with Park Superintendent or designee to plan for a safe and secure environment for the event. A plan for crowd control and security may be required as part of the application.
  • The Department may require additional rangers to be on-duty throughout the event, in which additional fees apply.
  • A person representing the sponsoring organization must be immediately available on site the day of the event, with authority over all elements of the event. This person will usually be the event APPLICANT or other authorized person. The CONTACT PERSON should provide the Department with a cellular phone number or designate some other way to contact them during the event.
  • Park staff may make periodic checks to ensure proper utilization of park facilities.
  • Any and all Department staff acting in their official capacity shall be admitted to the event without question and free of any charge.
  • Event guests shall comply immediately with all directions or requests made by Department staff acting in their official capacity. Applicant will receive contact information for staff assigned to the event prior to the event.
Moving Route/ Street Closures
  • When planning a moving route (e.g. trail race) on or beyond county real estate, applicant is required to submit a plan identifying all road crossings, travel routes and closures. This will be evaluated as part of the planning process. The following must be considered in planning the route:
    • Impedance of emergency (fire, police or paramedic) vehicles
    • Conflict with public transportation
    • Safety of participants
    • Interference with both motorized and/or pedestrian traffic patterns
    • Inconvenience to other park users
    • The route with the least impact must be offered as one alternate
    • No permanent marking allowed
  • Applicant will be required to obtain all traffic safety equipment required. Depending on the type of event, this may require barricades, traffic cones, signs, etc. Any volunteers along the route will be required to wear the current standard visibility vests.
  • The Department may require park staff and/ or emergency services to be on site throughout the event.
  • Applicant is responsible for contacting state and local officials relative to road closures outside of the park.
Accessibility Plan
  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to comply with all established disability requirements applicable to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Promotion/ Advertising
  • The Department must issue formal approval of the event prior to the start of any promotion or advertisement of the event.
  • Chester County will not advertise or promote events in its publications or on the County website.
Cancellation/ Weather Policy
  • The Department has the right to cancel or shut down an event due to severe weather conditions. Applicant is encouraged to have an Inclement Weather Plan.
  • If you decide to cancel your event, please notify the park at least five working days prior to the scheduled event. Depending on the scope of the event and notification time, a cancellation fee may apply. Requests for refunds must be in writing.
Affidavit of Application
  • The applicant must complete, sign and date the application before submitting it to the Department for consideration.
  • All supporting materials must be included at time of submittal or be cause for refusal to review and subsequent rejection
  • and/or denial.
  • The applicant must be prompt in furnishing information from follow-up inquiries by Department staff.
Contact Information
For a printable version of this information, please click here.