Every winter, all the neighbourhood kids would wait impatiently for the news that the ice of Lily Lake was thick enough to skate on. Once that news came, we had hours and hours of free fun and outdoor exercise for weeks on end.
We often went skating after school when the rink was virtually empty. Lots of room for flying along, cracking the whip and practicing spins and fancy stops. We spun and flew until it was dark and time to go home, reluctantly, for supper.
(Wordsworth, in The Prelude, Book First, evokes the cold, the sounds, and the motion of skating far better than I can. Sir Ian McKellen reads the skating epidsode.)
On sunny Sunday afternoons, what seemed like hundreds filled the rink with laughter and the ring of steel skates. Toddlers, teens, couples, whole families went round and round to the tinny sound of the Skater's Waltz, played from the pavilion.