Serving Alcohol in City Parks

Serving alcohol at a city park or facility requires special approval to ensure a safe event for everyone and meet legal and liability requirements. City ordinance prohibits alcohol in all parks with the exception of Mayors’ Riverfront Park and Versluis-Dickinson Park unless written permission is received from the City Manager’s Office. Approval from the City Manager is contingent upon final Michigan Liquor Control Commission approval.

Please allow at least two weeks for approval. Without a valid certificate of insurance and a liquor license, alcohol cannot be served at any city park.



The following requirements must be met in order for alcohol to be served:

  • The Michigan Liquor Control Commission Guidelines and Michigan Penal Code cover all City parks regarding alcohol consumption.
  • Unless you represent a non-profit corporation, there may not be any direct or indirect charge for alcoholic beverages, and you must first obtain the appropriate license from the State of Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
  • You are required to purchase liability insurance that meets the City’s insurance requirements.
  • You must pay a $100 alcohol permit fee to the City
  • You may only serve alcohol during the hours defined in your park reservation application.
  • You must define the time period that alcohol will be served and the serving of alcohol must end ½ hour prior to the established ending time for your event.
  • You must ensure that alcohol is NOT consumed by minors (age 21 and under) and TIPS trained servers are strongly encouraged.
  • You must post for public display your license during your event and adhere to all its conditions.
  • A minimum of two (2) people from your group must monitor the group to make sure alcohol remains inside the fenced area/tent/etc., and a sign must be posted saying “NO ALCOHOL BEYOND THIS POINT.” In addition, you should follow any alcohol risk management guidelines specified by your insurance provider to ensure that no individuals are over served.
  • Parks that are within 500 feet of a church must obtain permission from the church prior to the event being approved by the City Manager. All churches in the Kalamazoo area have form letters on hand due to events held at other venues (Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for example).


Restrictions for Special Occasion Licenses include but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol must be purchased from a state liquor store or agency.
  • Beer or wine may be purchased from a state liquor store or agency, a retailer, or a distributor
  • Beer, wine or spirits may not be advertised or sold below cost Beer, wine or spirits may not be given as awards or gifts

Insurance Requirements

  • Premises Liability insurance with a limit of at least $1,000,000 including “Host Liquor Liability” coverage. (Applies to alcoholic beverages served at no charge.)
  • Either “Host Liquor Liability” and “Liquor Liability insurance” must include the City of Kalamazoo as an additional insured for primary and non-contributory limits of liability.
Duplicate certificates of liability insurance should be issued to:
Parks & Recreation Department

251 Mills Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49048


Kalamazoo City Attorney’s Office
241 West South Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Note: an actual copy of the blanket additional insured policy language or endorsement must be attached to the certificate of liability insurance.

Options for Obtaining Insurance

Applicant should contact their insurance agent to determine whether or not $1,000,000 Host Liquor Liability or $2,000,000 Liquor Liability coverage will be required.

Please make sure to begin the process of finding insurance at least 4 weeks prior to your event. All Event Holders must provide a copy of the Certificate of Insurance at least 2 weeks prior to the event date. Certificates should be sent to the City Attorney’s Office.

Approval Process

At the time the park is booked for your event, complete and sign the agreement below requesting to provide alcohol at a City Park to the City Manager’s Office. Provide the details of your event including the nature of your event and the circumstances under which alcohol will be served.

The agreement and the certificate of insurance must be submitted at least 60 days prior to your event so that approval from the City Manager can be obtained.

Once City Manager approval has been obtained, a liquor license can be pursued from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Applicable Fees

  • Liquor License: required by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission if alcoholic beverages are being served
  • Alcohol Permit Fee: $100.00 payable to the City of Kalamazoo
  • Park Reservation Fees: vary by location and duration of the event, payable to the City of Kalamazoo

Required forms:

Michigan Liquor Control Commission Special License Application   Agreement for Serving Alcohol at City Parks